Facebook Adds ‘Live Location’ Sharing to Messenger

Facebook has added location sharing to Messenger, which follows the introduction of a similar capability by Google Maps last week.

Location sharing lasts for up to one hour and the user has control over who receives his or her location; it can be one person or a group. Glympse was the pioneer of temporary location sharing several years ago. It has since been emulated by others, with Facebook as the latest example.

Facebook described how location sharing in Messenger works in a blog post:

  • To share your Live Location in a message on iOS, tap the Location icon or tap the More icon and then select Location.
  • With today’s update, you’ll see a map of your current location and the option to tap a blue bar to share your Live Location.
  • If you choose to share your Live Location, the person or people you share it with will be able to see where you are on a map for the next 60 minutes.
  • You’ll be able to see an estimate of how long it would take to get to others’ locations by car. (The ETA is seen by the person with whom the location is shared.)
  • You can stop sharing your Live Location at any time; just tap Stop Sharing.
  • A small clock in the lower right hand corner of the map will also let you know how much longer you’re sharing your location for.

Apple’s messaging app also has a similar capability (I’ve never used it). Facebook said that it was a use case that the company noticed people doing organically on their own — talking about where they were (“how far away are you?”). Hence the new capability.

This is yet another way in which Facebook demonstrates that it is focused increasingly on location-based content, tools and ads.

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