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Google Maps now lets users track the location of their nearest and dearest
Google Maps is expanding its location sharing functionality to more users across the globe.
The feature originates from the US search company's ill-fated social network, Google+.
Google is steadily removing the functionality from Google+ and rolling it out to more Google Maps users worldwide.
Those who have updated to the latest version of Google+ will find that the Locations tab now directs them to the Google Maps app.
Unfortunately, not everyone has the functionality within Google Maps yet – and the California-based technology company hasn't started to roll-out the feature to iOS and Android apps yet, either. Those who have the feature enabled will be able to share their location data with friends and family.
This will enable them to see exactly where you are at any given time.
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The feature is made possible via the GPS that's included in all modern smartphones, which is accurate enough to pinpoint your location within a few metres.
A slew of popular smartphone apps, such Apple's Find My Friends, already include tracking.
The feature can be incredibly useful – allowing friends to send directions to one another in busy city centres, or allowing parents to keep an eye on their children as they make their way to school. However, not everyone likes the idea of being spied on.
Don't panic too much though, Google's not going to let people see your location without your express permission first.
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As well as being able to set a pre-defined time, the app also lets you opt to share your location indefinitely.
Google has transferred its location sharing functionality to Google Maps
It's suggested that users who opt for the latter will be sent emails reminders every three weeks to ensure they're still keen to keep their current location visible to select users.
Google has confirmed the new location-sharing feature will be rolled out to all iOS and Android-based Google Maps users worldwide "soon".
Once you've received the update, to activate the feature, you'll need to head into Maps's side menu or click on the blue location dot.
Here, tapping "Share Location" will let you do just that, picking who you want to make your location visible to, and how long you'd like to let them know your whereabouts.
You'll be able to share your location with existing Google contacts, or with friends using popular messaging services such as text or WhatsApp.
Those who receive your location will be able to track you in real time using their own Google Maps app, their mobile browser on via their internet-connected computer.
"When you're sharing your location, the people you've chosen to share with will see you on their map," Google explained in unveiling the feature.
"You'll see an icon above the compass on your own map reminding you that you're actively sharing your location.
"You can change your mind and stop sharing at any time – it's entirely up to you."
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This update comes as Google has confirmed its Maps app will soon help drivers.
A new feature being added to the Google Maps app will allow drivers to save the location of parked car on their smartphone.
Using location services, the car is then represented by a blue marker inside the app, meaning you’ll always know where it is.
You can also start a timer which will let you know how long you have got left on your parking meter, helping you avoid a fine.