You can now share your real-time location using Google Maps. On the flipside this also means you can track the location of your friends as they go about their business. Most people will love this futuristic functionality, but we have a hunch privacy advocates may not be completely on board.
To get the most out of modern technology you have to give up some level of privacy. Google Maps is a case in point. While it’s entirely possible to use the app anonymously, allowing Google Maps to see your location makes it come alive. And Google Maps’ latest trick makes that truer than ever…
Google Maps Knows Where You Are
Google has added the ability for you to share your real-time location in Google Maps. To do so, simply tap the blue dot that shows where you are right now. Then tap “Share Location” and choose who you want to share your location with, and how long you want to share it with them.
You can share your location with your Google contacts, or send a link through your favorite messaging app. Once you have shared your location with a friend, they have the option to reciprocate. This could be helpful if a group of you on a trip you probably planned using Google Maps try to meet up in one location but struggle to find it and each other.
In terms of timing, you can choose to share your location for anything from 15 minutes or “until you turn it off”. Either way, you’ll see an icon on your own map reminding you you’re sharing your location. Google will also email you regular reminders that you’re sharing your location.
Google addresses any privacy concerns right up front, making it clear that you’re always in control of sharing your location. The company has also put various safeguards in place to prevent you from forgetting. However, this is unlikely to appease privacy advocates.
This Is a Real-Life Marauder’s Map
This ability to track locations in real-time—one of several ways Google can track you—means Google Maps is turning The Marauder’s Map into a reality. For the uninitiated among you, The Marauder’s Map is a magical document from Harry Potter which tracks the movements of everybody in the grounds of Hogwarts. Evanesco!
Google is rolling out location sharing in Google Maps as we speak, so even if you don’t yet have access to the feature, be assured you will do soon enough. Don’t forget about other Android apps that use your location in neat ways either.
Do you use Google Maps? Do you let it see your location at all times? How do you feel about sharing your real-time location with friends? Does the idea of a real-life Marauder’s Map excite you? Or fill you with dread? Please let us know in the comments below!