Friend ask where you’re meeting again? Trying to let someone know where you are? Forget about sending screenshots of Google Maps from your smartphone or sharing location via iMessage for you iPhone users. Facebook will now let you send a map of a location via its Messenger app.
The update, rolling out on Thursday, lets Facebook users search for a location on a map and then send it. To use the feature:
Open up a conversation thread in Messenger.
Tap the "More" icon (three dots in the far right corner above the keyboard)
You can then choose your [Your Name] Location, or you can search for a business and send a map with a pin for that location on a map.
The maps are powered by Apple Maps on iOS and Nokia Here on Android. The integration is not via Google Maps, and as Mashable notes, a partnership between Facebook and Google for location sharing on a social network shouldn’t be surprising.
Unlike iMessage, which lets users "Share Your Location" with another iPhone user in a map that updates as you move, a map sent on Messenger is static. A Facebook user who receives a map on Messenger can open it and track their own location relative to the pin if they have their location turned on.
The search for restaurants or businesses is powered by Facebook’s Places Directory -- the same information that appears when a Facebook user checks in on the app, a Facebook representative told International Business Times. Over the years, Facebook has experimented with Places and its mobile check-in features.
In April, Facebook opened up Messenger to third-party developers, which allows app integrations like this update to take place. Future integrations could include ride-hailing app Uber, which Messenger head of product Stan Chudnovsky hinted at in an interview with TechCrunch. “You might want to make reservations. How are we all getting there? Maybe there’s a transportation service somehow,” Chudnovsky said.
This location update comes only a week after Aran Khanna, a Facebook summer intern and Harvard computer science student, released a tool called "Marauder's Map" that allows any Facebook user to pull and map location data from a Messenger thread when location tracking was turned on. Now, messages will not be sent with city and state information, a previous feature that users could have had on by default.