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How to track your friends and family on Android

Derek Walter | March 11, 2016
Make the 'where are you?' text a thing of the past with one of these location-sharing applications.

Some people are just never on time. Others won’t respond to a text when you ask them where they are. Unfortunately, these characteristics often reside with the same person, which gets quite annoying when you’re trying to meet up. 

What complicates the problem is that keeping track of someone’s whereabouts can get complicated if you have a group of friends or family members who have smartphones from both platforms. Most iPhone users just sign on to Find my Friends and don’t have to mess with anything else. There’s no such option built into Android, and of course Find my Friends is exclusive to Apple's devices.

We’re here to help. There are several great cross-platform options for location sharing, but I’ve narrowed it down to my three favorites that you should be happy with. Here they are in no particular order, so you can install it on your ever-tardy family member or friend’s phone right away.

Familo is the top cross-platform tracking app

My favorite of the batch is Familo. It looks great with a nice Material Design aesthetic, is constantly updated, and at the risk of overusing the “it just works” mantra, that saying really applies here.

The easiest part is that you can just sign up by connecting a phone number to the app. There’s no need to login with a username/password, Facebook, or some other social network.

Once you create a group you can invite others via SMS or email, and they can sign in to your group and control when their virtual light is on for you to see them. Another slick feature: Just touch on a contact and with one tap get directions right to their location with Google Maps.

You’ll find the ability to see when someone arrives at or leaves at a set location valuable; you can just wait for the push alert instead of constantly monitoring them. I also liked the option to select a location like “home” or “office” and get a notification when that contact arrives there. The app also offers an Android Wear version, which is perfect for sending a message or your location to another member of your network.

.Familo has a pretty good development pace, but if you want to live on the edge and test out new features, then grab the beta version. Otherwise check it out and see if it suits your fancy.

GeoZilla

While I liked Familo the best, you can’t really go wrong with GeoZilla. This app is also cross-platform, and I found it was very reliable and accurate every time I tried it out.

GeoZilla differentiates itself with a strong connection to other social networks. When you check-in somewhere with Swarm or Facebook, this can be broadcast to all of your contacts and networks. Integration with other services is always nice, but it felt like too many extras thrown in at once.

 

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