Following in the footsteps of Google Maps, Facebook has updated its Messenger app with a new Live Location feature that lets you share your real-time location on a map for an hour within a private direct or group message thread.
The update, available for Android and iOS can come in handy when someone needs to know where you are or how much longer you’ll take to arrive at a destination (ETA).
“Live Location is super helpful when trying to coordinate with friends, telling people how close you are when you’re on your way to an appointment or even sharing where you are with your roommate when you’re on your way home at night,” wrote the feature’s product manager Selena Wang.
The location sharing feature was previously available within the Messenger application too, automatically sharing the same with your friends and family without consent which blew up into a privacy scandal and was scrapped in 2015. Facebook then replaced automatic sharing with static, pointer-based location sharing and is now taking the next step with live sharing.
This time, though, you can’t leave it on by default. Head of Messenger David Marcus " target="_blank">posted that “Many of us make plans on Messenger that involve finding each other, or letting friends and loved ones know we’re on the way. Sharing your location will also help some of you feel safer on the way home.”
To activate live location sharing on Messenger:
- Inside a message thread, tap the Location button or find it in the More menu
- On the map, tap the blue bar to start sharing your Live Location for the next 60 minutes. This screen will also show how long (an ETA, estimated time of arrival) it would take for you to get the other’s location by car.
- A clock in the corner of the map counts down until your location sharing expires, and you can hit Stop Sharing at any time
With its humongous network and user base, Facebook is now pulling all its resources to make Messenger you default communication tool. This new feature comes after the recent introduction of Messenger Day, its own version of Snapchat stories.