Google has updated its Maps app to so you can now share your location in real time with friends and family. It’s a similar idea to the Find my Friends app on iOS, or the Google Trusted Contacts app released earlier this year, but baked directly into Maps itself.

It’s easy to set up and we show you how to quickly share your location on Google Maps.

The basic steps

    1.    Open Google Maps
    2.    Tap the three lines in the upper left corner
    3.    Tap Share Location
    4.    Tap Get Started
    5.    Select how long to share your location
    6.    Tap Select People to determine who your can see your location
    7.    Tap Share

A more detailed version

To get started you’ll want to open up the Google Maps app and then look in the upper left corner of the search bar for three lines. Tap these and you’ll see the settings menu appear.

About half way down is the new option entitled Share location. Tap this and you’ll see a new window appear in the bottom half of the screen which describes the basic features on offer.

These include the ability not only to share your own location in real-time, but also for others to share theirs with you.

How to share your location on Google Maps

Tap Get Started and another menu appears, this time containing the options for how long you want to share and who with. The app defaults to one hour but this can be increased or decreased by tapping the + and - buttons on the right.

How to share your location on Google Maps

Alternatively you could opt to leave the feature running until you manually turn it off.

At the bottom of the page are a few more options.

How to share your location on Google Maps

The first is Select people, which does exactly what it says. Tapping this will open your Contacts, from which you can choose who will be able to track you.

When you’re happy with the list you’ve compiled just tap the Share option at the bottom of the page and your recipients will be able to know where you are when they open the Google Maps app.

You can also send a text message with a link to your location. To do this tap the blue Messages icon, select a contact, then the app will autogenerate a text message replete with your link.

How to share your location on Google Maps

Finally you can try the More button, which opens up all compatible apps on your phone through which you can share a link to your location. This could include the likes of WhatsApp, OneNote, Gmail, Hangouts, Bluetooth or a number of other options.

This link is handy as it can be used by those who don’t have a Google account.

Why share your location?

While the idea of someone being able to watch your movements might seem a bit odd, it can be incredibly useful if you’re in a busy place - say a shopping centre or park - and trying to find each other.

Parents will also appreciate the security of giving their little ones a bit of freedom to venture out on their own, but knowing where they are at all times.

One downside is that your battery life will inevitably suffer due to the constant broadcasting, but if you use the feature sparingly then it could be another very useful tool baked into your Android phone.

Plus you can always pop a Power Bank into your bag to make sure you've got more juice if you need it.