Google wants to show all Android location-sharing settings in one place

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What you need to know

  • Android users can manage their location-sharing settings in each app that supports them right now, but that might be changing soon. 
  • A recent Google Play Services update revealed a new Google Location Sharing page in the settings app, which requires manual activation.
  • This menu will house all settings related to Google's location-sharing offerings, including six apps. 

Location sharing is used in a handful of Google apps, but managing location permissions is currently done on a per-app basis. However, it looks like Google is preparing to add all these location-sharing settings to a new menu called Google Location Sharing in the settings app. Android leaker AssembleDebug revealed the unreleased page to PiunikaWeb, which became available for manual activation after the latest Google Play Services update.

Version 24.15.14 of Google Play Services introduces the settings menu, which is behind the Location Services tab. For now, if a user navigates to Settings > Location > Location Services > Google Location Sharing, they will only be able to follow a link to a webpage that manages these shares with approved people. Of course, this is after the page is activated. Presumably, there will eventually be toggles and options related to location shares directly on this page at some point. 

With location sharing, Android users can let people they trust view their real-time location information. However, there are multiple apps where users can start sharing their location (or their device's location) with others. They include Google Maps, Personal Safety, and Find My Device. As such, if a user wants to rescind location-sharing permission, they'll need to remember which app was used to initiate the share.

The Google Location Sharing menu would eliminate this necessity. As the company explains in the blank settings page, Android users will be able to "manage any existing location shares regardless of which app they were created in."

AssembleDebug poked around in the Google Play Services update and found a list of six apps, encoded in base64, that are whitelisted to appear in the Google Location Sharing menu. The known apps are Google Maps, Find My Device and Personal Safety. However, there are reportedly six total apps that will be supported, and there's a good chance the Family Link app will be one of those. 

Google is clearly testing this new menu, but we don't know when it'll be publicly released for Android users. It could be shipped through a future Google Play Services update or included in Android 15

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.