Google has brought back a location tracking feature as an app to enable users to reach out to loved ones when trapped in an emergency situation and the app is known as Trusted Contacts. Earlier Google had a similar feature in 2013 called as Latitude. Even Apple has an equivalent app in iOS called as Find My Friend. The Trusted Contacts app enables the user to add people and contacts with whom they wish to share the location through your GPS or your online presence. During emergency family members or friends can request the user’s status and check if they are safe and the user can reply with his/her location when or might deny the request. If there is no response from the user then the app automatically broadcasts the current location of him/her or if offline the last known location is sent.
The app has other uses too, as it can be used as a virtual friend where the user can share commute details with friends so that they can keep tracking the whereabouts till the user reaches his/her destination. Once the destination has been reached, the user needs to press the button on the app screen or the lock screen to end the location sharing. It is also imperative for the user to choose who they want to share the location details with, as the app keeps running in the background and people may want to know the location for personal reasons too.
India has recently made the SOS button compulsory for smartphones, yet such emergency buttons are always particularly helpful in a country like ours. The Trusted Contacts feature has been compared to Facebook’s Safety Check feature. The biggest advantage with it is that if your loved ones are worried about your safety, they can immediately check your location. Additionally, Google has also made it possible for the app to function even when the phone is offline or switched off which gives users a great advantage, as many areas in the country suffer from poor internet connectivity.