WhatsApp is adding yet another handy utility to its ever-growing arsenal of features. This time, it’s ephemeral live location tracking for one-on-one as well as group chats. The feature was also leaked a few weeks before in a report. The update is now rolling to Android and iOS and WhatsApp says it will be available globally within the coming weeks.
The new live location tracking augments WhatsApp’s existing static location sharing. It works just as you’d expect — once enabled, the recipient will be able to check your whereabouts in real-time for the defined time period. In a group chat, every member will have access to the shared location. It’s worth pointing out you can still share static locations like before as well. The process is quite straightforward as well like every other WhatsApp feature.
How to Share Your Live Location on WhatsApp
- Tap the “Attach” icon on Android or “Plus” on iOS in a chat.
- Confirm the location and define the duration of time for which the live location tracking will be active. There are only a couple of duration presets to choose from for now — 15 minutes, 1 hour (default), and 8 hours.
- You can also attach an optional comment through the text box at the bottom.
- Press the little icon that looks like a paper plane on the top if you’re on iOS or the big green one if you’re on Android for sending the live location.
This can be disabled manually before the time expires by heading into the specific chat and tapping the “Stop Sharing” red button. In addition to that, WhatsApp has also added a new option in the “Account Privacy” settings which allows you to glance an overview of all the WhatsApp chats you are sharing your live location with. Here, you can also disable them individually.
On the receiver end, these shares will be displayed as thumbnails along with a Live until’ time. Moreover, the recipient can enable Satellite/ Terrain view and even traffic data as an overlay which can be handy if you’re expecting someone. In a group, you’ll see a list of all the users who are sharing their location at the moment. WhatsApp says it has made sure the feature doesn’t impact your phone’s battery and the rest of the WhatsApp’s experience adversely. We will find out how accurate is that once we use the service for a while.
WhatsApp’s implementation of live location tracking is largely similar to what its rivals have done in the past. However, considering the enormous user base the Facebook-owned messaging platform serves, we’ll sure it will now become more mainstream. Google as well added this on its navigation service and even has a dedicated app for it.