WhatsApp joins other messaging platforms with live location sharing

Sharing your current location with someone is a great way to passive-aggressively explain that you’re on your way when they ask where you are. But it also has other uses, and WhatsApp has now joined rivals Facebook Messenger and iMessage in offering the feature (with its own somewhat unique twist).

The new feature will be available on both Android and iPhone soon, and it’s accessed the same way you’d normally send your location. But now you’ll have the option not just to put a pin on the map where you are, but to let them track you continuously for a duration of your choosing. (A version of this feature was tested earlier this year.)

Fifteen minutes, an hour and 8 hours seem to be the three lengths of time you can choose from, though of course you can also turn off location sharing manually if you reach your destination or wish to conceal your movements.

Snapchat and Foursquare have their own versions of live location sharing as well, but the everyday messaging space seems like the best fit to me.

One use for this that seems actually quite helpful is making sure someone gets home all right. There are a few safety apps out there already, but this is a simpler way to keep track of someone if you can’t walk or drive them home yourself. Plus, it’s on a widely used cross-platform app that isn’t Messenger. Unfortunately, WhatsApp is still the ugliest of all the chat apps, but what can you do?