Sharing location in Google maps shows friends your view

You probably know about “Street View” in Google Maps. But did you know that you can see inside the buildings your friends are in, if they’ve turned on “Location Sharing?”

While at home on the East Coast, my friends could see inside my Chicago hotel room, alongside a map pinpointing my exact address. They could even see my room’s wallpaper and pillows. When I moved to the other side of the room, they saw the couch. When I was at a Cubs game, they could see the seats. At an art museum, they could see the painting I was looking at. But they couldn’t see me in any of the pictures. These interior shots, like Google’s “street view,” were taken by the Google team at an earlier date.

I have no problem sharing my location with family or close friends. But others might not like it. A suspicious spouse could see if their partner was still at the office or if their teenager was really at the library. Location Sharing also lets you see if the other person’s phone battery is low or if it’s plugged in.

To turn it off or on, or to see someone’s location — if you’re sharing yours — find “Location Sharing” at by tapping the hamburger icon (three stacked lines). It’s right after “Covid-19 info.” But keep in mind, you can only see photos of your friends’ location by going to the Google Maps website. The phone app just shows you a pinpoint on a map.


In a Lyft the other day, I noticed that the driver’s screen had lots of interesting apps. But he wasn’t using Apple’s CarPlay. It was a system that came with his car. I was curious because a reader recently mentioned CarPlay, which also puts apps on your car screen.

“So what’s new with CarPlay in the new automobiles?” the reader asked. Well, here’s one thing: You can unlock your 2021 car by touching your iPhone to the handle. You can even give virtual keys to others so they can use their phones on your car.

If you don’t have a 2021 car, but you do have the iOS 14 operating system on your phone, you get other neat CarPlay stuff. For example, you can ask Siri to send a friend or contact your estimated time of arrival. Or ask her to send a voice message instead of texting or calling someone.

The iOS 14 operating system also brings new CarPlay categories, including one for parking, one for electric vehicle charging stations, and one for food ordering. There’s also one-tap access for chosen destinations, with detailed information about what to do when you get there. CarPlay’s new wallpapers jazz up the background on your car screen.

CarPlay is found under “Settings.” To use it, all you need is a data plan and an iPhone 5 or newer, as well as a car built in 2014 or later. You can use a wireless or wired connection to the phone. Watch a YouTube video titled “Everything New with CarPlay in iOS 14” to see its features in action.

For Android users, there’s Android Auto. Like CarPlay, it lets you use your car’s screen to communicate, navigate, entertain and get answers. It works with Android 6 or newer and a data plan. More cars have CarPlay than Android Auto, but Porsche recently announced that it will offer it in new cars or the first time and the list of Android Auto-compatible cars is growing all the time.


Alexa is great at reminders. As I typed this, she piped up and said, “I’m reminding you, Women’s Club Tea.”

To set it up, I told Alexa, “Alexa, remind me at 2:45 pm tomorrow.””What should I remind you?” she asked. “Women’s Club Tea,” I said.

In her earlier days, when I asked for a reminder, she failed badly. When the time came, she’d say: “you have a reminder,” without telling me what it was. Now Alexa is right on the money.


Unless you have unlimited data, watching Netflix on a train or away from home can get expensive. The default setting uses three gigabytes an hour at high definition and seven gigabytes an hour for ultra HD. Choose the “low” setting and you’ll only use three-tenths of a gigabyte an hour.

Here’s how: Open Netflix in a browser such as Chrome or Edge. Click the arrow next to the icon representing you and click your account. Under “Playback Settings,” you’ll find the low setting.


I’ll never play a PG movie for a child again without checking online to make sure it’s appropriate. Even if the child says their parents let them watch anything PG-13, it can be a big mistake.

According to a UCLA analysis, movies labeled PG-13 in 2007 would have been rated R in 1997. It’s probably worse now. So what’s a parent, relative or babysitter to do? is the best guide I’ve found. They list every questionable scene and let you decide. It’s $30 a year after your first three free reviews., a free site, also analyzes movies. But it’s not nearly as good as CommonSense.