WhatsApp helps billions of people make plans and meet up with friends — and not just through its messaging and calling features. The app also has a “share location” function that you might be familiar with, letting you send an estimation of your current location to a contact. Taking this concept a step further, WhatsApp has now announced that it will soon launch a real-time location sharing feature.
In a blog post published yesterday, WhatsApp announced Live Location Sharing, a “secure way to let people know where you are.” Like the previous location sharing feature, this is activated by tapping the attach (paperclip) button in a WhatsApp conversation and selecting “Location.” There, you will soon find the new live location sharing function, which will send the particular person or group a real-time view of your current location on a map.
The feature makes use of end-to-end encryption for security and you can stop sharing the location at any time (WhatsApp says it is also on a timer which will at some point expire, though it’s not yet clear how long this lasts). Of course, end-to-end encryption won’t help one bit if someone steals your pal’s phone and decides to track you, but that’s a risk you’ll have to take when starting the location sharing.
This is a new feature for WhatsApp, but it’s not something we haven’t seen before elsewhere. Google added real-time location sharing to its Maps app earlier this year (you can find it in the hamburger menu under “share your location”) and Snapchat recently did something similar; any Snapchat feature to come down the line you should probably just expect to see in WhatsApp a month or two later now.
WhatsApp says the new feature will hit Android and iOS in the coming weeks. Let us know what you think of WhatsApp’s latest moves in the comments.