Despite the obvious privacy issues, Google just threw Maps into the deep end of the world of real-time media and communication. Google Maps users will soon be able to share their current location, travel route and estimated arrival time with friends and family.
“On both Android and iOS, you’ll be able to share your real-time location with anyone,” Daniel Resnick, engineering manager at Google Maps, notes in a new blog post. “And the people you share with will be able to see your location on Android, iPhone, mobile web, and even desktop.”
To share their location, Google Maps users will need to open the apps side menu or tap the blue dot, which represents their present location. They will then have to tap “Share location” and select who to share with, and how long to share.
When people are sharing their location, the people they’ve chosen to share with will see them on their own map.
Of course, this isn’t Google’s first crack at real-time location sharing. Users could share their whereabouts with Google’s old Latitude service, as well as its fated Google+ social network.
And, while it’s not clear if Google plans to monetize the new feature, the marketing potential of tracking consumers’ real-time whereabouts is huge.
Indeed, ad requests containing location data are booming. From 2015 to 2016, such requests rose 170%, according to recent findings from mobile ad exchange Inneractive.
Last year, the firm also found a 20% increase in eCPM for ad requests that included GPS data, among five of its top publishers.