Facebook Messenger has now incorporated a live location sharing feature, one week after Google Maps revealed its own real-time location tool. On Monday, the social media giant announced the new feature, which will allow users to share their live whereabouts with friends at the press of a button.
To try out the feature, you'll need to update to the latest version of Facebook Messenger, which is in the process of rolling out for iOS and Android devices now. Once the update is installed, simply tap the location icon in any message thread, then enable the feature and grant permissions when prompted. From there, if you choose "Share Live Location," the person you're messaging can track where you are for the next 60 minutes.
Furthermore, you will be able to see how long it will take driving from where you are to other locations, and recipients can also see the ETA. A small clock in the corner shows how long your location will be shared—and you can simply tap "Stop Sharing" to call time on the live location feature.
If you're not comfortable with real-time location sharing, a static point on the map can also be shared. To do that, tap the location icon just the same, but instead of hitting "Share Live," tap the red pin in the right-hand corner. Users can then search for a specific place to share, or simply drop a pin on the map.
Facebook Product Manager Selena Wang revealed that they had been testing the feature "for a little while" before its launch this week:
People tell us that 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.
Nonetheless, the timing seems a little too coincidental, considering that the news comes after Google annouced it would be adding similar functionality to Google Maps last week. But even if this is just another example of Facebook copying functionality from other popular apps, it's still a welcome addition.