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How to Track Your Friends Using Google Maps

Dave Parrack Updated 30-01-2020

You can now share your real-time location using Google Maps. This also means you can track the location of your friends as they go about their business. Most people will love this functionality, but privacy advocates may have some reservations.

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To get the most out of modern technology you have to give up some of your privacy. So, while it’s entirely possible to use it anonymously, allowing Google Maps to see your location How to View and Delete Your Location History in Google Maps It can be quite jarring to see just how much location information we're happily sharing with Google. Read More makes it come alive. And Google Maps’ latest trick makes that truer than ever…

How to Track Your Friends Using Google Maps

In March 2017, Google added the ability to share your real-time location in Google Maps. The feature was detailed in a post on The Keyword, with Google explaining how it works. Essentially, you can share your location with friends, and vice versa.

To share your real-time location on Google Maps, first, make sure your Location services are enabled. Then, open Google Maps, and find the blue dot showing where you are. Click that blue dot, and Google Maps will give you several different options.

Tap, “Share Your Location”, and choose how long you want to share your location for. This can be for a certain amount of time, or until you turn location sharing off. Then, choose the person or people you want to share your location with, and click “Share”.

You can share your location with your Google contacts, or send a link through your favorite messaging apps. Once you have shared your location with a friend or friends, they have the option to reciprocate. Which is how you can track your friends using Google Maps.

This could be useful if you and your friends are on a night out together or on a trip somewhere. By all sharing your location with each other, you can keep track of everyone in the group, and arrange to meet up in one central location. All through Google Maps.

All the while you’re sharing your location with others, 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 to make sure you don’t forget.

Turn Google Maps Into a Real-Life Marauder’s Map

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 feature turns Google Maps into a real-life Marauder’s Map. Which, for the uninitiated, is a magical map from the Harry Potter series which tracks the location of everyone within Hogwarts. And with that in mind, here are the best Harry Potter apps for your phone The 10 Best Harry Potter Apps for Android and iOS The best Harry Potter apps for Android and iOS let you add some much-needed magic to your smartphone. Read More .

Explore more about: Google, Google Maps, Location Data.

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  1. Şule Bayraktar
    January 31, 2020 at 10:57 am

    thank you

  2. imayert
    January 30, 2020 at 2:03 pm

    Is that how the government tracks people?

    • Dave Parrack
      January 30, 2020 at 3:56 pm

      In a word, no. You have to share your location with specific people, and I'm guessing you don't have "the government" in your Google contacts.

  3. 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.

  4. 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]

  5. 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.

  6. 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.....

  7. 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.

  8. 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.