Google Maps, renowned as one of the most widely used web mapping platforms globally, has recently unveiled a new feature allowing users to share their live locations with friends and family. This functionality, akin to WhatsApp’s live location sharing, not only facilitates real-time tracking but also proves invaluable in the event of a stolen smartphone, aiding in its recovery.

The live location-sharing feature on Google Maps provides users with access to real-time updates of the device’s location with remarkable accuracy of up to two meters. Additionally, users can monitor the device’s battery percentage and other critical information, enhancing the tracking process significantly.

In cases where a phone is lost or stolen and is actively sharing its location with another device, experts advise against contacting the phone directly and instead recommend tracking the live location with the assistance of authorities. This method is particularly effective if the stolen device remains powered on with an active internet connection, as turning off the device renders the tracking feature ineffective.

Sharing live location on Google Maps is a straightforward process, accessible on both Android and iOS devices. Users need to ensure they have the latest version of Google Maps installed, then navigate to the profile picture in the top right corner, select “location sharing,” and choose “new share” to specify the duration, contact, or platform with which to share the location. Permission to access the device’s location at all times is required for this feature to function effectively.

While both Android and iOS devices have implemented measures to make it challenging to power off a smartphone, these features may become ineffective if the thief removes the SIM card. To mitigate this risk, experts recommend using an eSIM instead of a physical SIM card. Moreover, Google Maps allows users to share their live location even with non-Google users, expanding the accessibility of this feature across various messaging platforms.

Although live location-sharing functionalities have been available on platforms like WhatsApp for some time, Google Maps’ integration of this feature provides users with an additional tool for tracking and recovering lost smartphones. Similar capabilities are also offered by ride-sharing apps like Ola and Uber. While privacy concerns may arise, especially regarding continuous location tracking, the utility of these features in locating lost or stolen devices underscores their significance in certain scenarios.