As announced today, Facebook is furthering the capabilities of its Messenger app with the addition of live location sharing to the mix. This feature makes it simple and intuitive for your friends and family to stay up to date with your location in real time, but for a rather limited duration of one hour. A user can share his/her location in an individual or group conversation and pause it when they desire. It is extended to both Android and iOS mobile users across the globe.

The usability of live location sharing has been described by Selena Wang, a Product Manager at Messenger in the official blog post as under:

Live Location is 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.

The location sharing feature was previously available within the Messenger application, but it would automatically share the same with your friends and family without consent. This caused the privacy and security pundits to raise their voice against it and Facebook then replaced automatic sharing with static, pointer-based location sharing to the platform back in 2015. It is, however taking the next step to bring back live location sharing.

To active live location sharing on Messenger, you’ll need to follow the following steps:

  • Navigate to within a conversation and tap the location icon at the bottom, over the message box. You might need to look inside the More (three horizontal dots icon) tab in Messenger.
  • You’ll now be greeted with a map showing your current location and a blue bar with the option to share your Live Location.
  • Now tap on this blue button to start sharing your live location with the recipients for the next 60 minutes. This screen will also show how long (an ETA, estimated time of arrival) it would take for you to get the other’s location by car.
  • A small clock in the lower right-hand corner of the map will show the duration you’re sharing your location for. You can at any time tap the ‘stop sharing’ button to no longer allow Messenger to show your live location to the recipients.

In addition, Facebook is not putting an end to static location sharing with the addition of the live one in Messenger. It is still possible for you to share a static point on a map. To access the same, you will need to tap the location pin or the More icon and then instead of choosing Share Live Location, tap the red pin in the upper right-hand corner. You can also drag and drop the red pin, before hitting Send to share your static location.

With recent feature additions, Facebook is looking to make Messenger your first choice when picking a communication tool. Just last week, the social media giant had introduced a significant change to how we interact with messages in a conversation. Earlier, one was unable to do anything, except copying, deleting or forwarding messages to others on Messenger. But, now one can react to individual messages and mention users within a group conversation. This new feature comes after the recent introduction of Messenger Day, its own version of Snapchat (or Instagram) stories.

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