When I’m working late at night as an Uber driver, is there any way I can share my location with my friend? Just in case something happens? I have a Samsung Galaxy S7 if that matters.
Interesting, I was under the impression that the Uber app that drivers used has some sort of tracking feature, but I guess that’s for the company’s use, not for your friends or family. Hopefully it’ll never be an issue, but yes, there’s a pretty easy way to share your realtime location for as many hours as you’d like through Google Maps. Even better, it works on both Google Maps on Android and on the Apple iPhone too. You’re definitely good to go with that Samsung Galaxy S7, and it’ll be identical if you upgrade to the S9+ somewhere down the road too.
The wrinkle is that you are giving Google permission to track your location – even when you then don’t think it’s tracking you – and keep a history of everywhere you’ve been. Even when Google Maps doesn’t seem to be running. Look closely at one of the last few screen captures in this article and you’ll see Google’s tagged me at an address on Mapleton Street and even includes the date when I was there. I didn’t know it was doing that! So if you’re cool with this privacy issue, here’s how to proceed…
To start, just launch Google Maps on your S7. I’m in downtown Boulder, Colorado, so here’s what I see:
It’s quite accurate in noting my location. To share it, tap on the “hamburger menu” on the top left (the three horizontal lines within the search box). That brings up a menu:
It’s the fourth entry in the menu: “Location sharing“. Tap on it to get set up…
Ready to share that info? Of course you are – that’s why you’re reading this!
Tap on “Get Started” to, well, get started.
Now you can see the options: you can share for an hour by default, but tap on the little “+” and “-” buttons and you can change that from 15 min up to 8 hours or more. Or, “until you turn this off” if you really want to stay in touch.
Then choose with whom you want to share your location. I suggest that you tap on the “•••” “More” button, which shows a ton of options for sharing your location through various channels, some of which don’t even really make sense (like Dropbox):
For this example, I’ll share my location via Messaging, an easy text message that includes a special link specifying your current realtime location. The next step after tapping on that icon is…
That’s really all there is to it. Add a phone number or type in the name of the person or people you’d like to have keep a tab on your location through the evening and night, and they’ll all get something that looks like this:
All they have to do is tap on the image and they’ll see your location with constant updates as you move around. Done for the night? Just go back to Google maps and turn off tracking:
That’s all there is to it. If you don’t want Google to have this data, by the way, I’m also a big fan of Glympse, which offers a service that’s just location tracking, but doesn’t share data with the big Google data library…
Pro Tip: We have lots of Android help on the site if you want to explore while you’re here. There’s sure to be at least a few that’ll help you get more out of your smartphone!