Facebook Messenger Users Can Now Send Maps to Share Locations

Why type out directions to your friends on Facebook Messenger when you can just send a map?

Why type out directions to your friends on Facebook Messenger when you can just send a map?

The social network introduced a new, “completely optional” way for Messenger users to share their locations with their friends, allowing them to send maps as separate messages.

Head of product for Messenger Stan Chudnovsky introduced the new feature in a Newsroom post:

Over the past few months, we’ve been working on a brand new way to send a location as part of a conversation in Messenger. Today, we’re excited to start rolling it out in place of our previous location-sharing feature. Now you can choose to explicitly send a map of your location or another particular place as a separate message.

To get started, just tap the more icon or the location pin at the bottom of your screen. If you want to tell a friend which restaurant to meet you at, search for the restaurant and send a map of where it is. If you’re running late, send a map of where you are to your friend to let him or her know how far away you are.

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Chudnovsky also stressed that users’ privacy will not be compromised by the new feature, adding:

With this update, you have full control over when and how you share your location information. You only send a location when you tap on the location pin and then choose to send it as a separate message. You can also share a location—like a meeting spot—even if you’re not there.

Sending a location is completely optional. Nothing is changing about how we receive your location information.

As always, Messenger doesn’t get any location information from your device unless you enable location services for the app.

Messenger does not get location information from your device in the background—only each time you select a location and tap send when you use the Messenger app. We are not requesting any new permissions for your information.

And Chudnovsky hinted at a potential linkup with ride-sharing service Uber in an interview with Josh Constine of TechCrunch, saying:

You might want to make reservations. How are we all getting there? Maybe there’s a transportation service somehow. I didn’t say that (Facebook would build on Uber’s application-programming interface), but that doesn’t mean I don’t like what you’re saying.

Kurt Wagner of Re/code also got some color from Chudnovsky about potential inspirations for the feature:

We definitely are very excited about everything that’s going on in Asia when it comes to messaging. There are tons of awesome experiences that companies like WeChat or Kakao or Line are enabling, and we are big fans of that.

Readers: What do you think of the new feature for Messenger?

david.cohen@adweek.com David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.