Google Maps to enable location sharing

Google Maps users will soon be able to share their real-time locations as well as give directions on how to get to them without having to leave the app. This has possibilities for smaller delivery companies.

In notice posted on the Google product news blog, Daniel Resnick, Engineering Manager with Google Maps, explained how the system will work: “Whenever you want to let someone know where you are, just open the side menu or tap the blue dot that represents where you are. Tap “Share location” and then select who to share with and how long to share—and you’re done!

“You can share your real-time location with your Google contacts, or even share with friends and family by sending a link on your favorite messenger apps.

“When you’re sharing your location, the people you’ve chosen to share with will see you on their map. And you’ll see an icon above the compass on your own map reminding you that you’re actively sharing your location. You can change your mind and stop sharing at any time—it’s entirely up to you.”

User can also use the feature to allow authorized people to follow them if they are making a trip to specified destination.  Resnick took users through the process: “Tap the “More” button on the bottom on the navigation screen, and then tap “Share trip.” When you share your trip with people, they’ll see your expected arrival time and can follow your journey as you head toward your destination. Sharing automatically ends when you arrive.”

While this won’t have the detail and value of a commercial delivery app, it could appeal to smaller courier operations.

The idea is not as novel as today’s announcement would suggest. Google had previously offered an app called Latitude which performed a broadly similar function, but this was retired in August 2013.

Resnick’s post said that: “Location sharing on Google Maps is rolling out soon worldwide.”  
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