Google has been steadily revamping its Android Contacts app, but the next apparent upgrade – which could eventually appear in Android 14 – might feel too invasive for some.
That’s because Google could be planning to add Google Maps and Weather information for where your contacts are – potentially making it feel like a version of Snapchat’s Snap Map feature.
So far, Google’s Contacts upgrades have been pretty small but nevertheless good additions to the app. Earlier this year it got a tablet-optimized layout – perfect for the new Google Pixel Tablet announced at Google I/O 2023 – and it also received Birthday reminders. If you have Birthday information for a contact, the app can remind you to call or text them on their special day.
According to leaks, the next update could bring a few changes. Firstly, at the more minor end, images shared by @Nail_Sadykov on Twitter show a slightly different design for individual contacts pages – buttons to Call, Text, Video and Email the person will now appear in circular bubbles below their picture. The Highlights tab will also get a new box, recommending contacts that you should add to your Favorites.
However, the bigger change is the addition of Maps and Weather data to your Contacts’ pages. If you have their home address information, when you visit their page in your Contacts app you’ll see info about what the weather is like where they live. What’s more, if the contact wants to share their live location with you, you can press a button on the page to see where they are and get directions to them.
New upcoming changes to the Google Contacts app: pic.twitter.com/9wB1jSgZ6iMay 24, 2023
Based on the leaks, it’s not entirely clear how the location-sharing feature will work. If it copies Google Maps, the person sharing their location info has to set it up manually each time. When they do, they can choose to share their location until they turn it off, or for a set period of time before it turns off automatically.
The leaked images suggest that Contacts may favor the more long-term location-sharing option, making it feel like Snapchat’s Snap Map feature. You would manually set up who your share your location info with, and then anytime the contact wants they can come and find you.
This system has its benefits for fans of impromptu meet-ups, but the set-it-and-forget-it system could lead to some issues – you might find that you’ve shared your location with contacts that you've since decided that you’d like to keep that data private from. Additionally, it could see your phone’s data consumption go up a fair bit as it’s having to constantly signal where you are.
Until the feature launches we won’t know exactly how it works, although whatever system Google decides we expect it’ll be entirely opt-in. So if you don’t like the way Android Contact location-sharing works, you won’t have to engage with it all.