Friday, April 14, 2017

Google Maps Share location feature now available

A while ago I read Google was launching the ability for people to share their location using Google Maps. Today this feature became available on my Android based mobile phone. A second mobile phone didn't have the feature. All that was required was to update Google Maps and the second mobile had the feature as well. You can find the feature in the menu by pressing the "Hamburger" or menu icon.

Previously one of the web apps I wrote provided this functionality, but Google's implementation is much better being integrated into Google Maps.

There's a number of reasons to use a feature like this. Parents can now have their children start this feature on their mobile phone and know when they're getting close. Want to let your other half know when you'll get home. Now they can watch your progress through the traffic. As a group of friends getting together, sharing your locations means everyone can see where everyone in the group is currently located. If you've ever wondered where someone was when you're waiting for them, now there's no need to wonder.

My favourite way to use such a s feature is to help a family member when they're stuck in traffic. Whilst they're focused on the traffic, I can look at the traffic on Google Maps and help determine a better route for them to take.

You can decide whether to share your location for a period of time or indefinitely.

You may find other useful ways to find this new feature.

TIP For better accuracy turn on your Wi-Fi. Google uses Wi-Fi access points around you to better locate where you are. The built-in GPS by itself is often too slow and your location can often be placed quite a distance from where you are actually located. Together, the GPS and Wi-Fi works better in built-up areas.

Kelvin Eldridge
Providing IT support.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Fake your GPS location on an Android mobile phone.

Your mobile device knows where you are because using a couple of techniques. The most obvious is the GPS capability built into most phones.

When developing web apps there have been times when it would have been easier if I could have simply made the mobile phone appear to be in another location. I can do that by changing the code, but that's code that doesn't need to exist in the application.

For some reason I decided to see if there was a way to fake the GPS location in the Android phone and it turns out there is and it's pretty easy to use.

First you need an app which will enable you to set your fake location and then you need to enable the developer features in your mobile phone and enable the option Allow mock locations.

First install the app from the Play Store called Fake GPS Location Spoofer Free. There are other apps but this one did what I wanted.

To turn on the developer options go into Settings -> About phone, and press on the Build number 7 times. Yes, you read correctly. Pressing the build number 7 times enables the developer options.

Go into Settings and scroll down and you'll see there is now a Developer options. Select Developer options.

Enable the Allow mock locations option.

Now open the Fake GPS Location Spoofer Free app, move the map to the location where you'd like to appear to be, or use the search feature, then double tap the location so a marker appears on the map.

To start the fake location press the Play button at the bottom right. Ads are shown in the app but that's OK.

Now if you go to an app or web page that uses your location, you'll appear to be at that location.

To stop the faking of the location go into the Fake GPS Location Spoofer Free app and press the Stop button at the bottom left.

I'd also suggest when you're not needing to use a fake location to turn off the Allow mock location option in the Developer options.

That's it, you can now have your mobile phone appear to be anywhere you want it to be.

For those nefarious types, some apps may give you some type of advantage if you are in a location, but keep in mind if there's a setting, it may be possible for apps to determine you're faking your location and you may be breaching their terms and conditions and you don't know what the consequences may be.

In my case I can use the fake location to better test web apps I write. Each day I enter the local petrol prices into my Petrol Prices Melbourne web app, so now when I'm away, I can more easily appear to be at home, which makes it easier to enter the petrol prices. Another web app I've written is Nearest Train Station app, which only works well if you're in the area. If I'm planning a trip for later in the day that doesn't work. Now I can easily appear to be in that location.

Once you know you can fake your location you may recognise useful opportunities to use this feature of Android phones.

Kelvin Eldridge