You Can Now Track Your Friends Using Google Maps
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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 prove extremely useful if a group of you is planning to meet up in one location but struggling 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 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.

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!

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  1. Mohan Kumar Sree Murwa
    March 24, 2017 at 6:07 pm

    More like Latitude which was demised

    • vferg
      March 24, 2017 at 7:22 pm

      I was thinking the same thing! I remember using Latitude for a little while when it first released way back in like 2009-2010 and it was great. I remember using it when we traveled in several cars full of people for a roadtrip and it was fun to see just how far ahead or behind someone got on the highway. I wouldn't use this often but for trips with friends or family this is definitely a great feature to keep track.

  2. Fitzsip
    March 23, 2017 at 9:19 pm

    This would have perfect for a recently holiday.
    My friends were staying in a hotel on the one side of town while we were in on the other. Had to use pictures of google maps (showing my current location) and whatsapp to figure out which bar we were supposed to be in.
    It worked but if Google maps are making a feature of this then I'm all for it.
    It would be a very handy tool to locate which shop the wife is spending all my money in, while i'm still waiting in the car.....

  3. PC
    March 23, 2017 at 4:16 pm

    Sounds like a more genericized version of the iOS-only Find My Friends feature that I've been using for years.

  4. Bill
    March 23, 2017 at 3:41 pm

    Why do all you tech websites say "now" when it's actually soon? This feature is NOT available now. It will be available sometime in the future. Maybe even the near future. But not "now".

    • Mike
      March 23, 2017 at 5:04 pm

      Thanks for confirming on this! I was frustrated to not see it mine!

    • Fik of Borg
      March 24, 2017 at 1:03 pm

      "Now" it has been decided that it will come soon :/

      Yesterday I received the update notification and updated maps, but it does not have this feature yet, despite being the most recent version. I guess it also need to be activated server side.