Ever gotten lost on a hike or long run? Google's new app would have come in handy.
These days, there's an app for everything, even nonessential things like booking in-home salon services and tracking international flight fares. One thing that is essential? Your safety. That's why Google launched a new app today called Trusted Contacts. Currently available on Android with an iPhone version to come soon, the app allows you to share your location with select "trusted contacts" in any situation where you want someone else to know where you are. The app works anywhere, even if your phone doesn't have service. Pretty genius.
So how does it work? Well, you add specific people like your family, friends, or S.O. to your trusted contacts via the app, and when you want them to know your location, you just hit a button to share it with them. You can stop sharing at any time once you've reached wherever you're headed or returned home. Your contacts can also see a summary of how recently you were online and what your phone's battery level is, which is another way they can know you're okay if they're concerned for any reason. If your contacts are wondering where you are—maybe you left for a quick run a few hours ago and haven't returned yet—they can request your location to make sure you're all right. If you don't accept or deny their request within five minutes, your location will be automatically shared. Hence, the name "trusted" contacts—you probably don't want to add anyone on here unless you're comfortable about them knowing your location at any given time. (Nervous about going out running alone? Read our top running safety tips for women.)
While it's a little scary to think you might need this app for any reason, it's also great to know that if you use it, your phone's location will be easily accessible by your loved ones. In practical terms, the applications for this technology are pretty much endless. If you regularly walk home from work alone or if you're returning from a night out with friends by yourself, you can send a message via the app to your roomie or another contact, letting them know that you're en route. Plus, for women who are active outdoors, this app is especially useful. Of course it's a highly effective safety net in case something serious happens you while you're out, but it can also make you feel more secure in general about venturing out to get your sweat on alone. (P.S. Here's all the reflective gear you need for running after dark!)