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According to new beta builds of WhatsApp’s mobile apps, users may soon be able to track others’ location in real-time.
Spotted by beta-sniffing Twitter account @WABetaInfo, the feature will let users switch on location tracking within the app, allowing those in their contact list to see their current location, and effectively track their movements.
18.104.22.168 iOS | 2.16.399+ Android: Live Location feature, that tracks the live location of other group participants (DISABLED BY DEFAULT). pic.twitter.com/pYEXT1nxyR
— WABetaInfo (@WABetaInfo) January 26, 2017
Although that seems scary, location tracking in mobile apps isn’t a new feature at all. In fact, some apps specifically exist for this very purpose.
Google’s Trusted Contacts allows users to select predetermined “trusted contacts” that can request location details. Parents wanting to keep tabs on their kids is a good user case.
South African app MySOS actively relies on this information too, should you find yourself in an emergency.
The WhatsApp feature is disabled by default, and requires users’ input to actually switch on — even if your phone’s GPS is beaming away.
Tracking friends’ location in WhatsApp could soon be a thing
Although we’re currently enrolled in the beta channel in South Africa, the feature hasn’t yet rolled out to us. There’s also no word from WhatsApp when we’ll see the feature in the wild.
The nip-tucks include the ability to reply to others’ statuses and, specifically for iOS users, the ability to see who viewed your status. These two features are disabled by default, @WABetaInfo reports.
There’s still no word on when WhatsApp Status will hit the app’s stable channels.