Share Your On-Going Location with Family and Friends through Whatsapp


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The most popular free messaging app which has more than one billion users across the world is Whatsapp that used to connect with family and friends. It allows the user to send text messages, images, videos, audio files and documents at anytime and anywhere. The app also permits both audio and video call in over 180 countries.

The Whatsapp messenger was acquired by Facebook for nearly 19.3 billion dollars in February 2014. This messaging app has a lot of features like group chats where the limit is up to 256 people and the user can rename the group’s name, customize the notifications or mute the group conversation and more.

The app uses the phone’s internet connection for the operation and it provides simple and reliable messaging services. Whatsapp has included many new features to enhance the customer engagement with the app.

Live Location Sharing

WEBetaInfo is the famous online site that discloses the new advancements and features available on the Whatsapp before the official announcement from the company. This site leaked the screenshots of many new features that are yet to be rolled out by the Whatsapp.

Recently, WEBetaInfo posted some of the screenshots of upcoming features of Whatsapp on their official Twitter page. These screenshots are revealed that the Whatsapp is going to include the real time location tracking feature in its functionalities.

Broadcasting location

Recent reports stated that the beta version of Whatsapp 2.16.399 for Android and version for iOS supported a new functionality called Live location Sharing. This feature broadcasts the users’ location to others when that option is enabled. It was expected that the option will be disabled by default, and then the broadcasting feature can be enabled for a minimum time period such as from one to five minutes.

The users of Whatsapp are familiar with the use of user location since the app already allows the user to share the location with any particular Whatsapp contacts and also on ‘Groups’ but that feature only provides the users’ location at the time of sending a message.

This real time tracking is the next level in the user location system, but it includes more privacy violations and other security issues.

Facebook’s Nearby Friends

The Nearby Friends feature in Facebook allows the user to share their exact live location with the friends for a limited period of time. According to facebook, Nearby Friends does not cause any battery drain when compared to the other tracking apps. It makes use of the reciprocal privacy approach so the user can see their proximity with the friends only when both have enabled it and the user can view the other friends’ location if they share their location purposefully.

The user can choose the particular list of friends whom they want to share their proximity, but most of the users make this option visible to all the friends. But, this feature has some privacy issues, so Facebook removes that feature from its app. It removed the exact location sharing attribute and it only shows the approximate distance between the user and their friends.

Initially, the Nearby Friends feature provides a map that pinpoints the exact location of the user. But, this feature was removed from Facebook along with the main visual component of Nearby Friends. Facebook introduces a new feature called “Wave” that helps the user to ask any nearby friends for meet up.

Whatsapp’s feature  

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The Live Location Tracking available in the beta version of Whatsapp for Android and iOS and it also allows the user to control the time period. The app offers the period of time as one, two and five minutes and the user can also enable this feature for the indefinite period. If the feature is enabled indefinitely, then it will be highly useful to track the family members in a crowded location. It is a better alternative than the paid locator apps available in the market.

A “Share My Location” setting available in the iMessage app also provides the same location sharing functionality. But, the time slot allotted for these features have differed whereas in iMessage the location can be shared for one hour, one day, or indefinitely.

It is not necessary that all the beta features are launch to the public, whereas the Location Sharing obtains the positive result during testing, hence there is a probability that this feature will be added to the Whatsapp.

Privacy concerns

The users may hesitate to adopt the new feature such as location tracking and sharing in Whatsapp because of the privacy policy of the app. Facebook has already shut off its exact location sharing feature, which is similar to the Whatsapp feature. But, when compared to share the location in social media makes better sense to share within few contacts.

From the leaked screenshots, it was observed that the feature is disabled by default and it will also available on both Android and iOS. Hence, in future, it will be useful for the people who trying to track someone who is using the different platform. iMessage is available only for the iOS users but this problem will be overcome by the Whatsapp.

The European Commission has introduced a new law to ensure the level of privacy of any individuals while accessing the online messaging services such as Whatsapp, Gmail and iMessage. This new legislation will provide a high data protection all around the world. Under this law, the companies including Facebook and Google will have to assure the confidentiality of the users’ conversations and also ensure their approval before tracking their location on online.

Interesting aspects

The Live Location Sharing offers the following functionalities to the users. It will be predicted to available in the beta version of Whatsapp for Android 1.16.399 and beta version for iOS

  • The user can turn on the application and can go live. The user can select the specific friends who can see their location.
  • But this location sharing will be for the specific period of time only such as one minute, two minutes, five minutes and indefinite period.
  • The user can preselect the period of time for which their friends and family can track them.
  • In the beta version of the app, the user can broadcast the location for maximum of only five minutes.
  • If the user selects the ‘Enabled Indefinitely’ option, then all the selected contacts will always locate whereabouts of the user.

Advantages of this feature

This feature is highly beneficial for women who are living or travelling alone and also for the family member or teenager who reside outside. This feature tracks all the details of the current location of the person and it will ensure the security of the individual. Hence, the other family members need not worry about the safeness and improves the safety because people are tracking them.

Even though, the feature has many advantages, the privacy of it plays an important role. It may result in a lot of negative aspects such as stalking and any other crimes. Hence, if the feature overcomes the security issues then it will be the most useful attribute to many of the users. The Whatsapp has not yet announced any official information about the release of this feature. So, the users of Whatsapp have to wait to utilize this new attribute.

Author Bio : Anand Rajendran is the Co-Founder and CEO of Dectar a well-known Software products development and Mobile App Development Company based in Chennai, India. He has extensive experience in building and leading innovative and collaborative software development teams to deliver major software applications like Scimbo – Whatsapp Clone Script. He loves exploring new things and sharing his knowledge with others.




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