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article imageFacebook unveils location tracking 'Live Location' feature

By James Walker     Mar 27, 2017 in Technology
Facebook has announced a new Messenger feature that lets you share your location with your friends and family for a limited period of time. It's similar to the location tracking feature recently added to Google Maps and carries the same privacy concerns.
Called Live Location, Facebook said the feature is supposed to make it "simple and seamless" to tell friends where you are. It's accessed by tapping the new compass icon on the Messenger toolbar, between the GIF and "more" buttons.
When you turn on Live Location, you'll see a map of your surroundings and a button to start sharing your location in the current chat. This simplifies choosing an audience – if it's only one person, you activate the feature in your individual chat thread with them. If you need to share to more people, enable Live Location while in a group chat.
Facebook Messenger Live Location
Facebook Messenger Live Location
Facebook
Live Location can share your position for up to one hour. All the people in the current chat will be able to check your location, even if Messenger is in the background. A countdown timer indicates how long there is remaining before the map expires. You can revoke access earlier using the "Stop Sharing" button.
The feature provides estimated travel times by car for getting to other peoples' locations. It can also be used to share a static place on a map, such as a restaurant or conference venue. Instead of pressing Share Live Location, you tap the red pin in the upper right corner of the location screen and drag it onto the map.
Facebook Messenger Live Location
Facebook Messenger Live Location
Facebook
Facebook has unveiled Live Location just five days after Google launched location sharing within its Maps app. Both implementations are very similar. Google's version is more versatile as links to your location can be shared with anyone. Messenger' less open nature is also a strength though, simplifying choosing an audience and protecting your privacy.
Like Google, Facebook suggested the feature is most useful when meeting up for social events and coordinating directions to a location. Although there are limited use cases for Live Location, the company said that early testers have found the feature helpful.
"We’ve been testing this for a little while, and people tell us that Live Location is helpful when trying to coordinate with friends, telling people how close you are when you’re on your way to an appointment, or even sharing where you are with your roommate when you’re on your way home at night," said Facebook.
Facebook Messenger Live Location
Facebook Messenger Live Location
Facebook
Live Location is surrounded by the same privacy concerns that have dogged rival services. Consumers have so far been reluctant to let apps monitor their activities and share it with friends, even when the capability requires consent first.
Although Facebook stresses you're always in control, critics of precise location sharing note the feature could be hijacked by malicious actors to spy on individuals. Facebook didn't comment on the problems with location sharing, stating only that the feature is "completely optional." The company has previously backed down on precise location sharing in its main product, removing the street-level map view from Nearby Friends.
Live Location is rolling out now to Messenger users on iOS and Android. It will be available globally in the next few days. If you can't yet access the feature, manually checking for updates should start the installation.
More about Facebook, Messenger, facebook messenger, location tracking, Gps
 
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