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 be helpful if a group of you on a trip you probably planned using Google Maps 9 Essential Google Maps Tips for Planning Your Trips Better 9 Essential Google Maps Tips for Planning Your Trips Better Planning a trip? These Google Maps tips will help you find food, navigate swiftly, keep track of where you've gone, and more. Read More 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. In addition to Google Maps, take a look at even more Android apps for finding your friends with GPS Find Your Friends via GPS With These 7 Free Android Apps Find Your Friends via GPS With These 7 Free Android Apps Looking for an app to track friends or family? Check out these location finder apps to keep tabs on your loved ones. Read More .

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!

If you’re looking for a way to track your pet, you’ll need a dedicated GPS tracker The Best GPS Tracker for Dogs and Cats The Best GPS Tracker for Dogs and Cats Looking for the best GPS tracker for dogs or cats? These devices let you find your pets if they escape, providing peace of mind. Read More . And if you prefer tracking storms or disease outbreaks, try one of these Google dataset visualizations 7 Amazing Google Dataset Search Results You Can Use Now 7 Amazing Google Dataset Search Results You Can Use Now Google's new dataset search engine helps researchers pour through large datasets from public sources. Read More .

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  1. Sue Dough
    January 2, 2020 at 4:56 pm

    This functionality ‘was’ very useful ehen it existed at least 10 years ago; but the Google pulled it, no reason given. My daughter and me shared locations while she was in college. She used a friends phone to call me one morning, upset because she had lost her purse the night before. It contained her phone, money etc. I looked at her location and told her “It looks like your on the LIE.” She obtained a ride from a friend and drive to where her dot was, their on the shoulder was her purse, phone, money and all things intact. The night before she and friends had pulled over and when one of them got out, my daughters purse was knocked out of the car snd knto the roadway. So when they killed the functionality in Google maps I was saddened.

  2. Mick
    March 15, 2018 at 1:48 pm

    I have recently seen a very similar app. Its name is FollowMate and it is a very handy app to track your friends and family members online on the map. It helps us when we go on long drive with our mates and family members to arrive at the meeting point. It makes it very easy to find and follow in real time.
    You can find this app on google play FollowMate [Broken Link Removed]

  3. 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.

  4. 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.....

  5. 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.

  6. 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.