WhatsApp Introduces Location Sharing

Today, Facebook-owned messaging platform WhatsApp have introduced real-time location sharing, which they've dubbed 'Live Location'. With the feature being available on Facebook Messenger and Snapchat, it seems like a popular move, as knowing friends and family's whereabouts is clearly something social-media users want.

So, how does it work? In any chat, whether it be a group chat or one-on-one, you can share your location with the tap of a button, and everyone else in that chat will view your location in a window within the chat. This window can then be enlarged by clicking on it, and you're able to move the map about to see what's close by and how far away somebody is from you, for example. You can also change the map from Satellite to Terrain, depending on your preference, and traffic alerts are also available to view too.

When sharing their live location, users can set a time limit on how long they'd like to share their location for; a one-time share, 15 minutes, one hour or eight hours. The app's Product Manager, Zafir Khan, says that they chose these time-frame options based on common scenarios in which WhatsAppers would use the feature;  meeting up with friends, letting loved ones know you're safe, or sharing your commute etc. If you're wanting to share for a different time to those, you can manually stop sharing at any time.

For privacy and security, you can view who you're sharing your location with at a time on your Account Privacy settings, just in case you lose track or forget to stop sharing when unnecessary.

The map feature is easily comparative to SnapMaps, with circle icons of users' profile pictures instead of the Bitmoji's used on Snapchat, and the copy-cat culture seems to be on-going with social media platforms bringing out different versions of the same features.

WhatsApp is arguably safer for location-sharing than Messenger and Snapchat due to it being end-to-end encrypted, and so may be more popular for those worried about their safety when sharing their location on social media.

WhatsApp conclude their blog post announcing Live Location with the following:

"Live Location is available on both Android and iPhone and will be rolling out in the app in the coming weeks. We hope you like it."

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