What's the best location sharing app

Tracking app: find friends' locations

Birgit Götz

If you know Apple's Find My Friends, you may also want to find the location of your family, or especially your children, on an Android smartphone. For this purpose, Google has the free tracking app "Trustworthy Contacts" in the Play Store.

EnlargeTrusted contacts can share their location information with the Google tracking app of the same name

With Google's free Trusted Contacts app - similar to Find My Friends on an iPhone or iPad - you can track the location of family members and friends on your Android smartphone. The idea behind the app is that you know where people are going if something happens to them.

Perhaps you already know the website android.com/find. You can only use it to track down your own devices that are logged into your Google account. But practical: if you are looking for your smartphone at home, for example, you can have it play a melody so that you can find it.

Using the Trusted Contacts app, on the other hand, you can ask family members or close friends for their location and share the information with each other. Once you've given contact approval, others can see if you've recently used your phone or moved, and how much battery power the smartphone has left.

The app can be helpful when you or your friends are out and about in uninhabited areas where nobody is around to help in the event of difficulties. However, the use of mobile data must work - because where there is no network, there is no help.

How to use the app

Download the app from the Google Play Store. When started for the first time, a series of animated screens will guide you through the app.

Since this is a tracking app, you will need to allow it to access your location when the app asks you for it. Google states that the data in the app remains private and shows your current location along with a map of your recent activities.

Then choose the contacts you would share your location with. The people you choose don't need to have the Trusted Contacts app installed or a Google Account - but they do need one to request your location.

Your contacts will now receive an email informing them that they can access your location and status either via the app or a browser interface.

If your location is requested, you have five minutes to approve or decline the request. If you don't answer at all, your contact will automatically find out the location. You can also change the default 5 minutes in the app settings to "reply immediately" or to another time period.

If you approve a request, your contacts will see several possible status information:

  • Last active - the phone was used or moved within the last 30 minutes

  • Activity in the last hour - as above, but for an hour

  • Weak battery, empty battery or offline - self-explanatory

If you want to tell your contacts where you are at the moment, tap on the display on the orange circle with a location icon. You can now share the location with specific contacts or send a notification.

Share location simply tells people where you are and allows them to keep track of your location history for the next 24 hours or until you turn off the sharing option. Your selected contacts will receive an email informing them that you shared your location and all people can access this information.

A notification is an urgent message that lets your contacts know that they need help. Those who have the app installed will hear an alarm tone and see your location. Contacts who choose the browser option will receive an email informing them that they need help and a link to their location.

If you are worried about someone and want to see where they are, go to the home screen, tap the contact, and select "Ask for the location of XXX". The app will then ask the person you are looking for for confirmation to share their location with you. If she doesn't respond within five minutes, you will automatically receive the map details of her location.

You can also start your request from the Internet by opening the original email you received from the person you were looking for and clicking the "Request Location" button.

This post is based on an article by our English colleagues at techadvisor.co.uk