Google has been steadily improving its Android Contacts app, but the next obvious update may be too intrusive for some. Because it could include Google Maps and Weather information for where your contacts are, it could feel similar to Snapchat’s Snap Map feature.
So far, Google’s Contacts updates have been minor but welcome additions to the app. It received a tablet-optimized layout earlier this year, which is ideal for the new Google Pixel Tablet announced at Google I/O 2023, as well as Birthday reminders. If you have a contact’s birthday information, the app will remind you to call or text them on their special day.
According to rumors, the next update may include a few changes. To begin with, images shared on Twitter by @Nail Sadykov show a slightly different design for individual contact pages – buttons to Call, Text, Video, and Email the person will now appear in circular bubbles beneath their picture. A new box will appear in the Highlights tab, recommending contacts for you to add to your Favorites.
The more significant change, however, is the addition of Maps and Weather data to your Contacts’ pages. If you have their home address, when you visit their Contacts app page, you’ll see information about the weather where they live. Furthermore, if the contact wishes to share their current location with you, you can use the page’s button to see where they are and get directions to them.
Based on the leaks, it’s unclear how the location-sharing feature will function. If it copies Google Maps, the person sharing their location information must manually set it up each time. When they do, they have the option of sharing their location until they turn it off, or for a set period before it automatically turns off.
The leaked images indicate that Contacts may prefer the longer-term location-sharing option, similar to Snapchat’s Snap Map feature. You would manually specify who you want to share your location information with, and then the contact could come and find you whenever they wanted.
This system has advantages for fans of impromptu meet-ups, but the set-it-and-forget-it system may cause some issues – you may discover that you’ve shared your location with contacts from whom you’ve since decided to keep that data private. Furthermore, because your phone is constantly signaling where you are, your data consumption may increase significantly.
We won’t know how it works until the feature is released, but whatever system Google chooses, we expect it to be entirely opt-in. So, if you don’t like how Android Contact location-sharing works, you won’t have to deal with it all.