Google Maps now allows its users to broadcast their whereabouts to friends and family. This is a step ahead in how much people are willing to compromise on their privacy in an attempt to stay ahead in the sharing game.
The new location-monitoring feature has been rolled out on Wednesday as an update to the mobile app. The app is already being used worldwide and soon enough, the feature will also be available on the personal computers.
According to Google, this is a new tool which will help people in letting their friends know where they are without actually calling them or sending them a text message. The controls have been set up by The Mountain View, California, allowing the users to decide with whom they want to share their current location and for what span of time. This time can be from a few minutes to indefinitely.
This feature introduced by one of the most popular apps in the world could actually cause friction in relationships and marriages. There might be certain couples where one partner demands to know the whereabouts of the other one and this at times, could lead to severe problems in the relationship.
Tensions can also arise between teenagers and parents if the latter insists the former one to turn on their location tracking before they go out with their friends.
This can be one way to track someone who is in an abusive relationship. This point has been raised by Ruth Glenn who is the executive director of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. She said, “It has the potential to be another tool in an abuser’s toolkit.”
Similar tracking services are also offered by some other apps including “Glympse” which has been founded by former Microsoft employees. The app has been functioning for years. Even Apple’s “Find My Friends” has a tracking option on its iPhone, iPad, and watch, however, the range of this app is only limited to Apple users.
This is one of the reasons that Google is not worried about introducing this feature. They are also providing the users with the options of turning it off and allowing only a selective users to monitor them through the app.
“We don’t feel like we are changing the game,” added Hen Fitzpatrick who is the vice president of Google Maps.
The users can activate the location-sharing feature by tapping a button near the search bar. Afterward, they can pick up the person with whom they want to share their location and other information. Even if the recipient doesn’t have the Google Maps app on their phone, it will provide them a link to open the location in the browser.
The settings also provide an option to the users to determine the time period during which their location can be tracked. If there is no time limit, Google will send emails to the users time and time again to remind them that they are still sharing their location with their friends. This is a step to help the people who do not know that their abusive partner is stalking them.
- Google maps friend location: google