In the past, you could send your exact location with anyone you were talking to by tapping an icon in Messenger. Now, it’s possible to do the same with any spot on a map. Simply tap the “more” or “location” icon and search for your location. It’ll be a useful tool to plan get-togethers with friends, because now you can now search for a location and plan to meet up without leaving Messenger.
When Facebook ripped Messenger out of the flagship application and made it a stand-alone chat service last year, people were frustrated that Facebook would force them to use yet another app just to communicate with friends.
But now that the company is ramping up its efforts to become integrated with services like payments, location services, and chatting with businesses, it’s clear why Facebook wanted a stand-alone service.
By adding maps and payments, Facebook is laying the foundation for Messenger to be integrated with a host of other applications that rely on similar services. For instance, Thursday’s update could be the foundation for the long-rumored integration with on-demand taxi service Uber.
The updated location feature launched just a few days after one enterprising Facebook intern published his discovery of just how much location data Facebook collects through Messenger. Aran Khanna created a Google Chrome extension that allowed him to track the location data of all his friends, thanks to Messenger’s massive data grab.
In a blog post announcing the feature, Facebook was quick to point out that the company isn’t running location services in the background: It only collects your location when you explicitly share it with friends. Because the update requires you to tap icons in Messenger to share your data, it will likely cut down on accidental location sharing, which happened when people inadvertently touched the location arrow that sat right next to the chat box.
Photo via viriyincy/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)