Google Contacts lets you see friends' live location in-app

Google Contacts on a Pixel 6
(Image credit: Namerah Saud Fatmi / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Google Contacts can now integrate real-time location from Google Maps for conveniently checking someone's location. 
  • The feature works if someone has shared their location with you in Google Maps, and their Google account email is saved in their contact card. 
  • The live location feed will appear in a new Google Maps block in a person's contact card in the Google Contacts app. 

Checking up on a friend or family member is now easier than ever, as Google rolls out a new feature that lets you view real-time location data in the Contacts app (via Android Police). Location sharing is a great feature that can help people find you, or let someone else keep tabs on you to make sure you stay safe. But previously, location sharing was a bit inconvenient, requiring users to share their location via Google Maps.

Now, location sharing is accessible straight from the Google Contacts app, provided a few conditions are met. It became available on version of the Google Contacts app and was rumored to debut with Android 14

A contact card in the Contacts app can both display information about your location sharing status and your contact's location status. If your contact isn't sharing their location, but you are, you'll see a banner that displays the time your location has been shared. There's also a new button in contact cards that is called Location sharing, designed to interface with these new features. 

Location sharing in the Google Contacts app.

(Image credit: Derrek Lee / Android Central)

When a contact is sharing their location with you, a tiny Google Maps block will appear in their contact card. This block shows the contact's current location, and updates live. This differs from the similar Google Messages feature, which can only share a snapshot of a user's location that isn't capable of live updates.

The Google Maps block in the Contacts app for location sharing.

(Image credit: Derrek Lee / Android Central)

In order for the new feature to work, you'll need to have a contact's Google account filled into the email field in their contact card. This should be the same Google account as they use for Google Maps because this is how Contacts can pull the location-sharing information. 

It's also important to remember that this applies to the Google Contacts app, and you might not be using it if you have a phone from an Android OEM other than Google. If not, you can always download it from the Google Play Store. It might also be installed on your Android phone already, even if it's not the default contacts app. 

Hopefully, this newfound integration in the Contacts app will make its way to the Google Messages app at some point. It would seem like the natural next step since you can view contact cards in the Messages app. Plus, it would put Google Messages on par with iMessage in this area, at a time when Google is trying to prove the two services are equal. 

Location sharing in Google Contacts appears to be rolling out, so check for an update if you don't see it yet. 

Brady Snyder

Brady is a tech journalist covering news at Android Central. He has spent the last two years reporting and commenting on all things related to consumer technology for various publications. Brady graduated from St. John's University in 2023 with a bachelor's degree in journalism. When he isn't experimenting with the latest tech, you can find Brady running or watching sports.