Google Maps just gained a really useful location-sharing feature

The app can let a contact know when you arrive and depart a certain location

Google Maps
(Image credit: Getty)

Sharing your location with someone can be a really useful way to help find each other, whether it be to meet up in a massive field of a music festival, or find exactly where your friends are on the beach.

Now, Google Maps is adding a new form of location sharing: notifications to let you know when a contact has arrived at or departed from a specific address.

To use the system, you’ll first need to be sharing your location with someone else, or with a group of friends. After that, you can open up a location you’re all planning to meet at, like a restaurant, in Google Maps, and ask the app to notify you when each of those friends arrives.

So, when each of them reaches the destination, you’ll receive a notification from Google Maps to say they are there. As well as meeting friends, this could be a useful feature to let parents know when their children have arrived at school or returned home.

It’s also possible to set up notifications for when location-sharing contacts leave a certain place. This could be useful for letting your partner know when you’re leaving the office, for example.

Google says it will serve up plenty of reminders, through notifications and emails, to let users know they are sharing their location with others. That way you’ll be reminded to turn location sharing off once you no longer need to be using it, and your contacts can then no longer see where you are.

The new feature is rolling out to Google Maps for iOS and Android now. Updates like this don’t usually arrive for everyone at once, so if you can’t see it yet you’ll just have to be patient.

Once it has landed on your phone, tap your profile icon or initial in the top-right corner of the Google Maps app, then tap on Location Sharing and tap the ‘share location’ button. You can then pick a contact (or contacts) to share your location with, and add a specific address. Here, you can configure the app to notify you when that contact arrives or leaves the location. 

They’ll be then notified about your request to see their location, and once they have agreed the system is all set up. Next time they arrive at or leave that address, you’ll be notified. They'll then receive regular notifications to remind them location-sharing with you is still active.

Alistair Charlton

Alistair is a freelance automotive and technology journalist. He has bylines on esteemed sites such as the BBC, Forbes, TechRadar, and of best of all, T3, where he covers topics ranging from classic cars and men's lifestyle, to smart home technology, phones, electric cars, autonomy, Swiss watches, and much more besides. He is an experienced journalist, writing news, features, interviews and product reviews. If that didn't make him busy enough, he is also the co-host of the AutoChat podcast.