Facebook is on a roll this month. It’s added quite a few features to the Facebook and Facebook Messenger apps. These features have been borrowed from Snapchat for the most part. The newest addition to the Facebook Messenger app is location sharing. Location sharing was possible for quite a while so the feature itself isn’t new. What’s new is that you can now share your live location on Facebook Messenger. This new feature aims to help your friends keep track of you inside the app without constantly asking for a location update. You can share your live location on Facebook Messenger with one or multiple friends for sixty minutes.
Open the Facebook Messenger app and start a chat thread with the friend you want to share your live location with. Tap the overflow button next to the mic button. On the ‘More’ screen, tap the ‘Location’ option.
If you’ve never shared your location using Facebook Messenger, the app will ask for access to your location. A location panel will open with your current location highlighted on a map. On this same map you will see a ‘Share live location’ button. Tap it.
Facebook Messenger will ask for additional permission i.e. to access your location even when you aren’t using the app. Once you give the app additional permissions, you can start sharing your live location on Facebook Messenger.
The app will stop sharing your location automatically after one hour. You can however end sharing your live location before that. Tap the ‘Stop sharing’ option on the message sent to your friend to turn live location sharing off. The app shows a running timer that tells you how much time is left before it will automatically stop sharing your location.
The feature is a useful way to keep friends and family updated on your current location when you’re driving. You won’t have to stop and repeatedly tell them where you are via text message.
This feature of course has two implications; privacy and battery life. Facebook apps are notoriously power hungry. There is no telling how much the Messenger app will drain your battery if you allow it to share your live location for one hour. Think how much of a drain the Pokèmon Go app is. As for privacy, the Messenger app can now access your location even when you aren’t using the app. This may or may not be a good thing.
A similar feature is soon going to make its way to the Google Maps app. If you don’t want to share your live location on Facebook Messenger, you can wait for Google Maps to get the feature. It’s only a matter of days.