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Google quietly adds real-time location sharing to Contacts app on Android

If you're an Android user, you can now see someone's location right from the Contacts app.
Written by Artie Beaty, Contributing Writer
Google Maps logo on phone
Mateusz Slodkowski/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Location-sharing apps like Life360 are an easy way to keep tabs on where your family is, but if you're an Android user, seeing where friends and family are just got a little easier.

In the latest version of the Contacts app, Google has quietly enabled the ability to let someone see your exact location in real-time via Google Maps. It's worth noting that this isn't a new feature itself, as the ability to share your location through Google Maps has been around for a while. But the new addition to Contacts is more convenient since if you're headed to call or text someone, you can do that and see where they are in one place.

Also: How to share your location on Android

There are a couple of things you'll need to do to start sharing your location though. First, you'll need to have the other person's Gmail saved to their contact card in your account. Second, the person showing their location will need to have location sharing turned on in Google Maps (the person seeing that information does not need to have location sharing enabled unless they want the other person to see them too).

screenshot of Google Contacts showing location
Aly Windsor/ZDNET

To enable location sharing in Maps, just head to the app, tap the profile picture on the top right, and then tap location sharing and new share. There will be an option to share your location for a set amount of time, or until the setting is turned off. 

If those two conditions are met, you'll see a small Google Maps module on that person's contact card in your phone under the options to call or text them. Tapping that module pulls up a map of where they are now. You'll also have the option to get directions to where they are or receive an alert when they reach your location.

The latest version of Contacts -- version -- is required for the new feature. To see what version you have, long hold on the Contacts app, tap app info, and then scroll all the way to the bottom. If you don't have the latest version, head to the Google Play Store and search for it.

Also: New Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra leaks reveal 3 big upgrades and 1 major drawback

While Google Contacts is the default option for all Pixel devices, it can be downloaded by anyone with access to Google Play – meaning any Android device can access this new feature. Since Google Maps is available on iOS, an iPhone user can be seen on an Android's contact card, but since Google Contacts isn't available for iOS, it doesn't work the other way around. 

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