WhatsApp Location feature has been launched by the Facebook-owned messaging app and the feature will start rolling out from Wednesday itself. Of course, it already gave you the option of sharing your location, however, it was a one time deal, but with the new feature, people can track the other person’s location in real-time.
With this new WhatsApp Location feature, which is designed for short-term use, users will be able to share their location with a group or with a private contact, letting people know your whereabouts while you’re on the go. It even allows users to choose when to stop sharing their location or let the Live Location timer simply expire.
WhatsApp already has around 1.3 billion active users worldwide, with almost 200 million being from India itself and the WhatsApp Location feature has given all these billions of people another reason to come back to the app, multiple time in a day.
WhatsApp Location feature was a long time coming update as we first heard about it last year and this can seriously provide a boost as well as edge to WhatsApp, over its competitors.
Since sharing your location is somewhat of an intimate piece of information, WhatsApp Location feature comes with end-to-end encryption, just like pictures, videos, and texts, meaning only the communicating users can use the shared location.
How Does WhatsApp Location Feature Work?
Open a chat window with whomever you want to share the location and under the ‘Location’ tab in attach button (Plus icon on the iPhone), there will be a new option to ‘Share Live Location.’ After clicking on the ‘Share Live Location,’option, you will be asked to choose the time frame for which you want to share the location in real time with an option of 15 minutes, 1 hour, or eight hours. WhatsApp has set default share time to 1 hour.
After sharing the location in real time, every person in the chat can track your location on a map. And in case the location is shared in a group, all members will be able to see your location. If multiple locations have been shared with a user, he/she can, whereabouts of every shared location in real-time will be visible on the same map.
Users can manually stop sharing live location within a chat at any given time by going to the Account Privacy settings.
You can view the location of other users sharing their live location with you through a map view, in which you’ll see the names along with the timestamp which shows the freshness of that data.
Impact On Battery Life Of A Smartphone
Since the WhatsApp Location feature can only be used with the app running in the background, users have been asking questions about its impact on battery life.
Zafir Khan, Product Manager at WhatsApp has ensured that WhatsApp Location feature will take into account several factors like how long a user has been sharing the live location, whether someone on the other end is actually looking at the map and the current battery level, to determine how often give a location update from the phone because by being intelligent about this we can help conserve some battery.
Everything said and done, WhatsApp is not the first instant messaging app to roll out a Live Location feature as Telegram and Facebook’s own Messenger app are using this feature for quite some time now.
While Telegram lets users share real-time location with others for either 15 minutes, one hour or eight hours, Facebook Messenger allows sharing location in real-time for just one hour. Apple’s iMessage also offers this feature, although it is also just for one hour.
On the Other hand, Google Maps also rolled out a Live Location feature earlier this year, and as far as the practicality is concerned, it is way ahead of the competition because users can share their location permanently with others.
As for WhatsApp, the instant messaging app has been launched several new and practical features to give a boost to its appeal and apart from the WhatsApp Location feature, we are also expected the ‘Notify Number Change’ option to be rolled out this year. Moreover, the recall-button is expected to be launched in early 2018, as well.