Google is discontinuing its Trusted Contacts emergency location sharing app in December and has already pulled it from the Google Play Store. Instead, it directs existing users to try similar but less useful features in Google Maps. This is a shame, because while trusted contacts can let you find a family member even if they do not respond (for example, if they are unconscious or in danger), Google Maps requires them to proactively send their location to you.
The message was quite abrupt:
Google Maps has been able to perform real-time location sharing since 2017, but again, you should opt for constant tracking and share your location with other people all the time instead of just posting it to loved ones if you do not respond. Reliable contacts, by comparison, allow you to add people to your contacts with whom you will immediately share your locations in the event of an emergency. If one occurs, your contacts can request a status update to see if you are feeling well, and you can respond with your location to reassure them. If you do not respond, the app will automatically share your last known location so they can send help.
When Google originally launched Trusted Contacts, it created this GIF to show how it works:
Folding other apps and features into Google Maps has been Google’s strategy for a while, but the Maps feature doesn’t feel quite as valuable. And even if it is possible, the Trusted Contacts app did not have many users, but those who stood on it had to find something else.
Google will end support for the app in December, but you can download your contacts from your Contacts Trust page until the app shuts down. Until then, you might as well become familiar with Google Maps’ location sharing.