WhatsApp Adds Live Location Sharing
It’s fair to say that WhatsApp is the most popular messaging service in the whole world. The company, acquired by Facebook in 2014, has recently said that it has 2 billion monthly active users, and 1 billion active daily users. Other mind-boggling statistics such as a total of 55 billion messages being sent every day have also been promoted by the company. This is the reason why, when WhatsApp adds a new feature, it has the capability to have an impact on the experiences of billions of users around the globe. In the past months, we have seen the introduction of WhatsApp Status and the ability to send files of any file type. Today, the company has added a new feature: Live Location – which is WhatsApp’s take on live location sharing.
Location sharing has existed in WhatsApp since quite a few years, and it has worked well, integrating with Google Maps to send the user’s location in a personal or a group chat.
However, Live Location is a step above and beyond static location sharing. Live location sharing, now used by Google, Facebook and other apps, means that the person you are having a conversation with will be able to see your precise location on a live map which will constantly update for a fixed time determined beforehand.
According to WhatsApp, the procedure to initiate live location sharing consists of:
- Open a personal or group chat with whom you want to share your live location.
- Under “Location” in the attach button, tap on the new “Share Live Location” button.
- You can choose for how long you want to share. For example, choose share for one hour and then tap send.
- If it’s a group chat, each person in the chat will be able to see your real-time location on a map. If multiple people share their Live Location in the group, all locations will be visible on the same map.
This feature has well-defined use cases for commuting and keeping track of family and friends, and it is safe to expect that it will be adopted by millions of users. In terms of security and privacy, WhatsApp stated that Live Location is end-to-end encrypted just like WhatsApp chats, voice calls and video calls.
Live Location will roll out on the Android app in the coming weeks.