29 March, 2017
An update to Google Maps contains a handy tool that lets users share their location with friends. No more need to let someone know that you are going to be late.
Using the new Google Maps update "Share Your Location," friends can track your route and know when you will arrive.
What share your location does
When you share your location using Google Maps, your friends can follow where you are in real time. Your location on the map will change as you move.
Users can share their location for a limited period of time that they choose. Or they can set it to share their location until it is turned off. The Google Maps app will let you know when you are sharing your location so you do not forget to turn it off.
This tool works with iPhone and Android, and also on computers. Even if you have an iPhone and your friends have Android phones, you can share your location with them using Google Maps.
You can even send your location to people who do not have a smart phone. If they use a computer, they can see where you are on the Google Maps website - provided you have shared your location with them.
You can send your location to anyone in your list of Google contacts. You can also share your location with someone who is not in your contact list. Just send them a link.
You can share your location with as many people as you want.
Sharing your route
If you are using Google Maps to navigate, you can send your route in addition to your location. That way your friends will know the way you are going and see when you are expected to arrive.
Share your location video
A video from Google shows how location sharing can be used to plan a surprise party.
The host and guests can follow each other to know when everyone has arrived at the party. The person who is bringing the guest of honor can share their location so others will know when to prepare for the surprise.
How to use share your location in Google Maps
After the app has been updated you can begin to share your location with others using Google Maps.
You must have the Google Maps app to use this feature. This app comes standard on Android phones. If you have an iPhone, you can download the Google Maps app for free at the iTunes App Store.
After you have downloaded the app, log into your Google account.
Open the app and tap the blue dot that shows where you are. A menu will show. Tap "Share Location" then choose which of your contacts you would like to share your location with and for how long.
Next, tap "Share" to begin sharing your location. An icon will appear as long as your location is being shared.
How to share your route
When you are using Google Maps on your phone to navigate, tap the "More" button at the bottom of the screen. Then tap "Share trip" and choose which people to share your trip with and for how long.
You can choose to share your route for a specific time period or until you arrive at your destination.
What else you need to know
You can turn off sharing your location at any time. Even if you have set a time period for sharing your location, you can cancel it whenever you want.
Google has not given a date for this update to be available. The announcement simply said it is "coming soon."
I'm Caty Weaver.
Carolyn Nicander Mohr wrote this report for VOA Learning English. Caty Weaver was the editor.
Are you interested in sharing your location with your friends using Google Maps? When would you use this new feature?
Share your thoughts in the Comments Section below or on 51VOA.COM.
Words in This Story
handy - adj. very useful or helpful
location - n. a place or position
track - v. to watch or follow the progress of (someone or something)
route - n. a way to get from one place to another place
real time - n. the actual time during which a process or event occurs
navigate - v. to find the way to get to a place when you are traveling
icon - n. a small picture on a computer screen that represents a program or function