Are you willing to further sacrifice your privacy? Google is enabling users of its Google Maps digital mapping service to allow their movements to be tracked by friends and family.
The location-monitoring feature will begin rolling out Wednesday in an update to the Google Maps mobile app that's already on most of the world's smartphones. It will also be available on personal computers.
Google believes the new tool will be a more convenient way for people to let someone know where they are without having to text or call them. The company has set up the controls so individuals can decide with whom they want to share their whereabouts and for how long.
Similar tracking is already available on other apps; Glympse, founded by former Microsoft employees, has offered this function for years.
Maps users will be able to activate the location-sharing feature by tapping a button near the search bar and then picking a person from their contact list to text with the information. If the recipient doesn't have the Google Maps app on their phone, it will text them a link to open the location on the map in a browser.
The settings also allow users to determine how long their movements can be tracked each time a location is shared. If no time limit is selected, Google will periodically send people email reminders that they're still sharing their location.
In the coming weeks, Google will also roll out mapping features aimed at helping users find parking and remember where they parked their cars. Ride-hailing services have also become an important aspect of the app, and Google Maps will have partnerships with 14 companies in 70 countries by the end of the week.
Mapping has become a key contributor to Google's advertising juggernaut.