Use Google Location Sharing to Keep Track of Your Girlfriends & Others

Google Maps has today announced a new feature to allow you to share your location with others. While that might seem creepy, it’s not the first to add this type of functionality. Facebook tells you when a friend is nearby — it even lets you “wave” at them and gives you the option to send a message if they holler back. Foursquare’s Swarm lets you check in wherever you are and both Lyft and Uber give you the option of seeing where your friend is if they share their ride location with you.

Now Google Maps will let you tell your friends where you are and give them directions to your location. It will also let you pick a special friend (like a family member, spouse or love interest, for example) to share your location with long-term.

If Google’s new addition sounds familiar, that’s because the company several years ago used to offer a similar option called Latitude, which was also built into Google Maps. But in 2013, Google decided to instead roll location sharing into its social network Google+ as it exited the business of check-ins and real-time tracking in Maps.

However, it was arguably a mistake to pull location sharing from Google Maps, where it worked best and made the most sense. Without the option, many users turn to location sharing today via third-party apps, family locators or even iMessage, which today includes its own, similarly designed location-sharing function. There’s even a new maps app designed specifically for people following each others’ cars on long road trips.

Sharing a Location Through Google Maps :

First, open the Google Maps App. Note that you have to be signed in for location sharing to work.

Now tap the menu hamburger icon at the far left.

Choose Location Sharing > Add People. It’s the little icon that looks like a plus next to a little person.

Now choose how long you would like to share your location for. By default, it’s set to one hour.

Then tap Select People.

Type the email address of the person you want to share your location with into this box.

Once you have chosen the right person and confirm, they’ll see your real time location in their Google Maps app. Now you’ll never have to worry about where your loved ones are again!

Note that in order for this to all work, you’ll need to change a couple of settings on your phone. On your iPhone, you’ll need to give the Google Maps app location access Always and you’ll need to turn on Background App Refresh.

Once you do that, then the other person will be able to view your location continuously until the sharing is turned off. If the other person has not shared their location with you, that will be indicated on the screen. You can tap the Request button to have them share their location.

Note that nefarious people who might get their hands on your phone can turn this on without your consent. You can always tell when your location is being shared if you see the location arrow in the upper section of your phone on the home screen.

To check and see which app is using your location, go to Settings – Privacy – Location Services and scroll down until you see the app that has a filled in purple location icon.

This means that app has recently used your location. You can then go in and check to make sure location sharing is off if desired. You’ll also be able to see who it is you were sharing your location with and hopefully catch them. Enjoy!

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