Google released a new app called Trusted Contacts earlier this year which lets you track contacts in real-time and the app is currently limited to Android. However, this is not the first time we’re seeing something like this from Google.
They’ve attempted to release an app with most of the features Trusted Contacts now has, back in 2013. Back then, the app was called Google Latitude. Three years later now, Google still hasn’t given up on the concept. It’s better to look at Trusted Contacts as a more polished and feature-rich version on Google Latitude.
At this point, I feel like I should make something very clear. Trusted contacts isn’t an excuse fo you to spy on your family members and friends. This app has been created for emergency-situations and for situations wherein you want your location known to the people you trust.
Focusing on the “emergency-situations” angle, Google went ahead and made this app capable to work without network coverage and mobile data.
Once you install the app and select the contacts you trust, you’ll be able to allow those contacts to view your activity status. For example, they can check if you have recently checked into a location or not.
However, they will be able to check you location only if you allow them to do so. If they request for your location, you have two options. One of the options being a denial to share the location. The other one, obviously being allowance.
Focusing again on the “emergency-situation” angle here, Googler implemented a feature wherein if you don’t respond to the request of a trusted contact to share your location in a given period of time, your location will be automatically shared with the requester. If your phone doesn’t have network coverage, or the battery is dead, Trusted Contacts will show your last registered location.
Although this app is limited to Android at the moment, there are alternatives like the FindMyFriend app on iOS.
Concluding, in Google’s own words, here’s a quick run-down of what the app is about:
Add your closest friends and family as trusted contacts
Allow trusted contacts to request your location. If everything’s fine, you can deny the request, but if you’re unable to respond your location is shared automatically (works even if you’re offline or your phone is out of battery)
Proactively share your location if you feel unsafe or find yourself in an emergency
Your trusted contacts can see your phone’s activity status to quickly know you’re OK