Google is now rolling out a new feature for Maps. Previously, friends and family were only able to share their location data with others, but thanks to the update, they can now also share their phone’s battery status.
The feature was first discovered by Android Police, revealing that Google Maps now bundles battery information with location data. Depending on a user’s stance on privacy, this might either be useful or downright creepy.
Google Maps Now Shares Battery Data.
It’s obviously meant for ensuring friends’ safety, though. Suppose they’re sharing their location data because they’re having an emergency and want some assistance. Knowing where they currently are plus how much juice is left on their mobile device can definitely help the user get to their destination faster.
When sharing location with another person in the Google Maps app, it will show up on the receiver’s app, and they can then use that information to get directions to where the sender is located. The new battery life indicator will be useful in that it will easily give context to the sender’s behavior. For example, if they haven’t called or texted after a while, it might be because they’re running low on juice. There won’t be as much cause for concern when they don’t respond at all because the receiver will be able to rest easy knowing it could just be because the sender’s phone finally run out of battery.
The new feature isn’t exactly new, though. It was spotted as far back as February when Android Police performed a thorough teardown of the Google Maps version 9.71 beta. The previous implementation was less accurate, however. Instead of giving the exact battery level, it only provided an estimate, something along the lines of “Bob’s battery is between 50 and 75 percent.” Now, it’s much more precise, and it also displays a charging icon as well.
Android Police says it has tested the feature out and can confirm that the battery level is dead-accurate, displaying the exact battery percentage on the sender’s phone. Just note that it’s shared automatically when sharing location data, and there doesn’t appear to be a way to toggle it off.
The feature is now live on Google Maps for Android and iOS.
Thoughts about the new battery indicator feature? Do you think users should at least be able to turn it off? As always, if you have anything to share, feel free to sound them off in the comments section below!