Everyone has at least one friend who's constantly running late, whipping out the blatantly false excuse that they're "just down the block" or "running a few late" when in fact they're still getting dressed. Now, thanks to Google Maps' latest feature, you'll actually be able to see exactly how close your friends are, and precisely how long it'll take them to meet you wherever you are.
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This new location-tracking function, which is slated to roll out "soon" to users worldwide, will allow you to enable friends/colleagues/Tinder dates to follow your movement as you approach your agreed-upon meeting spot. To do this, you'll simply tap "Share Location," pick a contact(s), choose how long to make them privy to your location details (anywhere from 15 minutes to three days), and alert them via the messenger service of your choice. The recipient will get an alert that launches a Google Map featuring a floating blue dot that represents your real-time whereabouts. Also, if you're using Maps to navigate, you can easily "share trip progress" with selected contacts, who'll not only be able to see where you are in real time, but also an estimated time of arrival. Once you've arrived, your location sharing automatically ends.
Apart from making it tougher for your punctually challenged friends to straight-up lie about how close they are, this new feature will undoubtedly come in handy when coordinating groups in explicitly time-sensitive situations (meetings, surprise parties, etc.) and once and for all eliminate the obnoxious "where the hell are you" back and forth texts.
Of course, being able to track the whereabouts of friends on your phone certainly isn't a new phenomenon. Apple's Find My Friends feature allows you to exchange location info with select contacts, as did a now-defunct Google Maps-adjacent app known as Latitude. However, those each share one's location at all times by default, while this will allow a user to have full control over how long they'd like their precise whereabouts known to others. Plus, having this sort of feature baked into such a ubiquitous navigation tool makes the experience all the more seamless.
Keep your eyes out for the new feature in the next couple weeks, and in the meantime maybe workshop a few new fresh and creative excuses for why you were so late.
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