WhatsApp has launched a new feature that will let contacts track one another in real time.
The messaging app has announced its live location tracking feature, which will allow users to share their movements if they’re trying to find their friends or let them know they’re safe.
The feature, which WhatsApp said is encrypted, asks users to set a time limit on how long their location is shared for and lets them stop doing so at any time.
“Whether you’re meeting up with friends, letting loved ones know you’re safe, or sharing your commute, live location is a simple and secure way to let people know where you are,” said WhatsApp.
Despite the safeguards the app has put in place, it could lead to some concerns that people could be encouraged to share where they are. The update follows a row over Snapchat’s Map, which reveals users locations. Unlike the Snapchat feature, WhatsApp users can only share their position temporarily and with certain contacts.
WhatsApp started testing the new feature in its beta version in January and says it will make the feature available in the coming weeks.
The Facebook-owned messaging service is also trialling the ability to recall and edit sent messages that haven’t been read. There has been no further indication as to if or when the editing feature, which could ease the minds of people who panic after mistakenly sending texts, will be added to the app.
How the WhatsApp Live Location Sharing Works
Live location sharing will be made available to users on Android and iOS devices in the coming weeks.
- Open a message with the person or people you want to share your location with
- Press the plus button in the bottom right-hand corner and select location
- There will be a new option here to “Share Live Location”
- Select how long you would like to share your location for
- Hit send
- The live location will appear on receivers’ screens as a map
- More than one person within a group can share their location and all will appear as icons on the map