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After Google and Facebook, WhatsApp joins the live location sharing bandwagon

Facebook-owned messaging app, WhatsApp’s users can now share location in real-time with their contacts. WhatsApp has updated its app with a new feature called ‘Live Location’, which it says is an end-to-end encrypted feature, which lets you control who you share with and for how long. The company added that users can choose to stop sharing at any time or let the Live Location timer simply expire.

How it works: Open a chat with the person or group you want to share with. Under “Location” in the attach button, there’s a new option to “Share Live Location.” Choose for how long you want to share and tap send. Each person in the chat will be able to see your real-time location on a map. And if more than one person shares their Live Location in the group, all locations will be visible on the same map.

The company will be rolling out Live Location feature in the app on both platforms – Android and iOS – in the coming weeks. WhatsApp had hinted real-time location sharing before when it did its Beta test early this year.

Google and Facebook already reached!

Note that Google already launched the real-time location sharing feature on Google Maps in March this year. Google Maps had allowed its mobile app users to share location with their contacts. Users can swipe left on the Google Map app and select “Share location”. This generates a shareable link which can be sent to other users using text messages. The link can be viewed on any device—smartphones, PCs, desktops—although the original user can control who can view the link. And Similar to WhatsApp, Google also let users control how long the shareable link can work—for 1 hour, a day, or until it’s turned off manually.

Almost a week after Google Maps, Facebook too launched a similar feature on its Messenger app, which allows users to share current location in real-time to Facebook friends using ‘Live Location’ feature which is integrated into the Messenger app as an icon. Clicking on it will allow users to broadcast their location to friends for up to a maximum limit of 60 seconds. This being rolled out globally on both iOS and Android. Note that Facebook also has Nearby Friends which was launched back in 2014. The feature allowed Facebook users to track their friends by broadcasting accurate location. But due to public backlash, Facebook tweaked it to remove accurate location sharing; now the feature displays nearby friends in form of distance (Km).

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Other location sharing apps: On the Play Store, there are numerous location-sharing apps, mostly meant to keep a check on close ones when in trouble. However now that biggies like WhatsApp, Facebook, and Google offer this feature, these apps could soon become obsolete very soon.

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