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WhatsApp Live Location: Say Hi to This New Feature to Sour Your Relationships

After blue ticks, the Snapchat-like WhatsApp Live Location sharing could make social media diplomacy tricky.

Debashis Sarkar | News18.com@SarkDeb

Updated:October 18, 2017, 1:51 PM IST
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WhatsApp Live Location: Say Hi to This New Feature to Sour Your Relationships
what happens when you are forced to switch on Live Location sharing by your loved ones? All hell breaks loose! (Image: WhatsApp)
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WhatsApp has a beautiful Diwali gift to offer to users—Live location. Of course, it seems like a breakthrough helpful feature but we already know how the “WhatsApp Blue tick” story unfolded. Having said that live location sharing feature is nothing new per se. There is Telegram, iMessage, Snapchat and Google Maps offering the same limited time live location sharing option. But very few people actually use this feature. With WhatsApp embracing the same ‘Live location’ sharing, more people will start using it and we can already sense how this noble feature could cause distress among users.

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What is it?

WhatsApp Live Location sharing allows you to share your location in real-time with family or friends. “Whether you're meeting up with friends, letting loved ones know you're safe, or sharing your commute, Live Location is a simple and secure way to let people know where you are,” explains WhatsApp.

The feature will be rolled out to both Android and iPhone in the coming weeks. The WhatsApp Live Location sharing feature is not permanent and you will have the option to share your real-time location for 15 minutes, 1 hour or 8 hours with someone or a group. You can stop sharing your real time location any time you want.

Also read: WhatsApp E2E Encryption: What Data the Police Gets And What Not

How is it different from the existing location sharing on WhatsApp?

On the existing WhatsApp location sharing feature, you have the flexibility to choose the location and share it. But with Live Location sharing, the exact location of the smartphone will be broadcasted as it is. And the same will be tracked and shared with the person or group. You will have no control on the Live location stream unless you decide to turn it off. In Snapchat, users are even shown as to whether they are driving or walking.

How does it work?

Open a chat with the person or group you want to share with. Under "Location" in the attach button, there's a new option to "Share Live Location." Choose for how long you want to share and tap send. Each person in the chat will be able to see your real-time location on a map. And if more than one person shares their Live Location in the group, all locations will be visible on the same map.

Also read: WhatsApp Should do The Maths And Support JioPhone Running KaiOS

How can it be a problem for you?

There is no privacy threat as such. This end-to-end encrypted feature lets you control who you share with and for how long. You can choose to stop sharing at any time or let the Live Location timer simply expire.

But what happens when you are forced to switch on Live Location sharing by your loved ones? All hell breaks loose! Just imagine the situation when you are not keen on letting your family or friends your exact location but you are forced. Or, when you tell that your just 5 mins away from a party and your friends force your share your live location? We don’t want to drop more hints of taking advantage of live location but be informed beforehand to avoid the repeat of “blue tick” cold wars among friends.


| Edited by: Debashis Sarkar
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