Facebook apparently isn’t done adding new features to Messenger in the weeks leading up to its F8 developer conference. The social media company announced today that Messenger now supports live locations, meaning that you can share your location with friends to help meet up in real life. Sharing lasts up to 60 minutes and can be terminated at any time.
The live location feature is rolling out globally and will be available on iOS and Android.
Borrowing a page out of Apple’s playbook, this feature makes it easier to coordinate with friends by determining their location via a pin on a map. Locations can be shared with as many people as desired, and including location-sharing within Messenger means it’s accessible to the more than 1 billion people who use Facebook’s chat app every month.
On iOS or Android, you can tap on the location icon within a message to begin sharing your location. You’ll then see a map of your current position and the option to share it live. As mentioned earlier, you can share your location for up to 60 minutes, and there will be an indicator to show you how much time is remaining. Facebook also shows you an estimate of how long it would take you to meet your friends if going by car — that ETA is shared with others, as well.
While live location is perhaps ideal for people on the go, you can use it if you’re stationary as well. So it works whether I want to show my friends how far away I am from them in a car or I need to tell others where I am so they can meet me.
Although the feature is optimized for people-to-people conversations, there’s also potential for live location to be used by brands. If you’re interested in buying something but don’t know where a particular store is, for example, you could chat directly with the brand and the agent could share the location of the one closest to you. It could also be used for hotels to help tourists find their way back should they get lost in a big city, or maybe within an expo hall during a convention, such as the Consumer Electronics Show or Mobile World Congress.
Facebook emphasized that sharing your location is completely optional. “You are always in control,” the company stated in a blog post.