Google Trusted Contacts Review

 
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Google Trusted Contacts Review

Highlights

  • Trusted Contacts lets you share location
  • It lets people you trust track your location
  • It's useful when, say, you are returning home late

Safety isn't something anyone should take for granted, no matter where they live. Whether you're returning home after a late night with friends, or simply returning late from work during rush hour, there's a good chance you might have received calls from loved ones asking where you are. Annoying as these calls or texts might be, they only show that someone cares about you.

There's no shortage of ways to let people know where you are. You can share your location via practically any messaging app, or just let your loved ones know where you are via calls or texts. If you are in a crowded bus or train and can't use your phone, you can simply use an app such as Google's Trusted Contacts to do this for you.

(Also see: Apps That Answer the Question: How Far Out Are You?)

Trusted Contacts lets you create a list of, well, trusted contacts, who can access your location anytime, anywhere. Instead of calling or texting you, they simply click a button and find out where you are. This is a very useful feature from a safety standpoint. You'll be asked if you want to share your location, so you know who is looking for you, but if you don't respond, the details will be shared to the trusted contact anyway, as a safety feature.

We installed the app on an Android phone (the iOS version is still in the works) and added a couple of trusted contacts. But before you can add any contacts, the app reminds you that you need to enable location history and location sharing. Now most people already have this turned on if they use any kind of location-based apps on Android, but if you are worried about sharing your location with Google, with might be a problem.

(Also see: Google's My Activity Page Is a Scary Reminder That Google Knows Everything About You)

Once you decide to give Google to access your location at all times, you can add trusted contacts. Trusted contacts can see your location via the app, but they don't need to install it just to see your whereabouts. You can instead invite them to check your location via email. They can simply click a link and access your location via the Web.

Make sure that you don't share this address with anyone else as it's a publicly visible URL, which is a privacy concern. You can stop sharing your location at any point, after which no one will be able to see it. But at the time you are sharing it, the URL should still ideally be viewable only by people you've invited.

(Also see: How to Stop Google From Tracking You on the Web)

Sharing your location is easy enough. You just need to tap a button, and it starts happening until you stop sharing it the same way. That's different from apps such as Find My Friends, available on Apple's iOS, which share your location whenever your trusted friend seeks this information. When sharing is on, the app also lets people see where you are while you're commuting, which is a nice addition. They can also request your location via the app or Web, and you get a notification for it. If you don't respond within five minutes, your location gets shared automatically.

We tested this app in Delhi and it worked as expected. You could just as easily share your location via WhatsApp if you don't mind having to manually send your location - and of course, you would lose out on live tracking too. Overall, we can recommend this app but be aware that sharing your location will decrease your smartphone's battery life. If the privacy concerns don't bother you and you are on Android, Trusted Contacts is a good app you to share your location with your loved ones.

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Pranay Parab

The job of keeping the Gadgets 360 homepage updated lies with Pranay and he is the man behind the site's social presence as well. He immerses himself in all things ... More

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