Google is making it easier for your close friends and family to keep track of you with its new Trusted Contacts app for Android.
The idea is simple: assign some of your contacts as “trusted” and they’ll be able to request your location and see your current activity status. If you don’t respond to a location request within five minutes, it will be automatically shared with these contacts. It’s basically Google’s version of the Weasley clock in Harry Potter.
The general idea is to be able to make sure loved ones are safe, though it’s not hard to see it coming in handy for other situations (like throwing a surprise party, perhaps).
You can also just simply share your location manually, should you want people to know where you are. A neat touch is the ability to virtually ‘walk’ someone home, following their location as they travel. When they arrive, they simply tap a banner atop their screen to stop sharing their location.
The app is pretty barebones so far, mainly limited to the features listed above, but it’s likely good enough for what it’s aiming to do. And while there are of course other apps that offer similar functionality – Life360’s Family Locator comes to mind – Google’s version could mean tighter integration with Google apps like Maps in the future. You can download the app on the Play Store now (sorry team Apple, no word on an iOS version yet).