It’s not a new feature, but I stumbled across Google Maps Location Sharing almost by accident, one weekend, while walking in the park. It seemed prudent to share my location with a few family members and nearby friends, in case I dropped dead of heat exhaustion or got eaten by an alligator. I kid you not: I walk with gators.
So, that’s not a gator.
The point is, I decided to try out Location Sharing and I turned it on – apparently, using the “Until you turn this off” option – and my husband pointed out, a few weeks later, that I’d spent so much time on the PC, sitting in my comfy recliner, that Google had now dropped a pin on our house like a landmark.
I gave him a withering look and turned it off. Let that be a lesson to you: If you turn on location sharing, be sure to set a reminder to turn it off, or risk unintended consequences.
But for all that social media and location sharing with family, friends, and Internet acquaintances can seem weird and stalkerish, it can also serve some useful purposes, such as:
Use your imagination, and I’m sure you can think of other good uses for it. Share a link on Twitter, then kick your phone under the free weights while you shop at the mall next to 24 Hour Fitness. Come back to a tweetstorm of “Oh, my God, you really do live at the gym! So sorry I ever doubted you!”
1) Open the Google Maps app on your phone and tap the hamburger icon.
NOTE: I use a Samsung Note 8 Android phone. I’ve never used an iPhone, so cannot provide directions here, though they may be the same/similar. If you have an iPhone, go ask in the Apple Store. They’ll probably set it up for you.
2) Tap Location sharing.
3) Unless you’re having second thoughts about this whole thing, tap GET STARTED. If, instead of GET STARTED, you see a list of friends – you’ve been here before, and those friends know it.First, choose how long you want to share your real-time location. The options are: For 1 hour or Until you turn this off. You can tap + or – to increase or decrease the time in one-hour increments. If you choose Until you turn this off, set yourself a reminder for a future time to ask yourself if you really meant to do that.
4) To choose from your Google contacts, tap Select People. To choose from Facebook Messenger contacts, tap Messenger. Choose one or more contacts to share your location with. To share a link to your live, real-time whereabouts, click the overflow menu icon (looks like an ellipsis…unless there’s no room, then it looks like an ellipsis that got scared of a mouse). Be careful where you post the link, if you choose to share it that way. If sharing via link, or with questionable contacts, avoid using the Until you turn this off option, lest you forget to.
5) To stop sharing, just return to the previous step and tap the X next to the contact name or to Sharing via link for ________ text.
Never skip step 5, unless you want to be mocked for Google dropping a pin on your chair and calling it a “place of interest.”