Google Assistant Now Finds Your Contacts Who Share Their Location on Google Maps When Asked
Google Assistant is integrating the Google Maps location sharing feature into its abilities and can now pull up their location when asked. The new voice command appears to be rolling out via a pop-up reminder of which contacts share their location with you.
Friend Find Assist
The reminder lets the user know about people who are sharing their location with them on Google Maps and adds that you can ask Google Assistant where they are, as seen in a tweet by Android Police founder Artem Russakovskii. Asking the voice assistant pulls up a Google Maps view on the screen, much as happens when asking Google Assistant about where anything else is. The voice command is clearly designed to speed up finding people who have agreed to share their location, but Google hasn’t made any official announcement about it as a new feature or option. It’s striking that Google is reminding people about who is sharing information with them, rather than giving a heads-up about who the user might have forgotten they shared their location with in the past.
Mapping the Future
Google has regularly integrated features from Maps and other Google services into Google Assistant as it has evolved. For instance, people in the U.S. could ask the voice assistant for voting locations and ballot box drop-offs ahead of last year’s election, with Google Assistant drawing the data from the Search and Maps services. The AI laid out options based on where the device was located, so it would also remind the questioner that the locations nearby were for those registered to vote in that district.
Google also funnels some voice AI features directly to Maps. The company linked Google Translate to the navigation service to help travelers find their way in new places by prompting the Google Maps app to automatically translate and recite out loud the name of a place and its address in the local language. Google Maps also utilizes AI to generate walking directions specifically for people with visual impairments. The more proactive and detailed directions help those who cannot see navigate successfully and more safely than the standard version. The location sharing commands just enhance the link between the voice AI and other Google services, but it could portend more comprehensive voice controls for Google Maps. We’ve reached out to Google to find out more and will update this piece with any additional information.