Facebook has come up with a new feature for its Messenger allowing users to share their locations continuously for an hour. The feature is similar to one offered by Apple and Alphabet’s Google Maps.
Second attempt by Facebook
Through this feature, a Facebook user can share their current location with a friend or group.
In a blog post, the company said, “People tell us that live location is super 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.”
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Although the use of the feature is optional, it can go live as people will be able to share their information with friends and track the movement of the user for 60 minutes, notes Reuters.
This is Facebook’s second such effort after the first one fell to privacy issues and was finally scrapped in 2015. A Harvard student found that users sharing their locations can be baked into Marauder’s Map through a Chrome extension to share the exact location of a friend. However, the social networking giant canceled the student’s internship offer, asked him to discontinue the extension and limited the functionality of the app into just knowing the onetime current or future location.
Now, this time around, users will be able to share their static and live locations.
Messenger heading in the right direction
In an interview with Reuters, Stan Chudnovsky, head of product for Messenger, said that “How far away are you” is one of the most-used phrases while talking to friends and family, reflecting what people want to know and what they are interested in.
Initially, Messenger was a part of the Facebook smartphone app, but later it was spun off into a separate app. The Menlo Park-based social networking site has made quite a few changes to the service to make it different from others. Just last week, Google Maps announced it was adding a similar feature to ensure greater engagement with the product.
Since all companies are working on similar features, this makes it clear that Facebook is going in the right direction, said Chudnovsky.
For now, Facebook is testing the new feature in Mexico. The app was ready in October, but the company decided to work on it for several more months to bring down the effect of battery life on users’ phones, notes Reuters.