Side Note

FYI, Android location-sharing doxxes your battery percentage

As reported by Android Police, the location-sharing tool via Google Maps that lets friends see where each other are now also displays each person’s phone’s exact remaining battery percentage. It only works for Android phones, right now, and it’s not clear the precise date that this feature was rolled out, but there were hints that Google Maps would have such a feature earlier this year, and people have recently started to notice it in action.

Google loves to experiment with Maps. For a brief moment last year, it was problematically measuring walking journeys in mini cupcakes. Location sharing is an easy way of giving friends a precise ETA, or letting them check up on you and make sure that you get home safely. And if you’re someone who frequently texts friends something along the lines of “Uhhh my phone’s about to die, so if I don’t respond, that’s why,” this tool does the job for you.

But more than once in my life, I have lied to loved ones and said that my phone is about to die. The intention isn’t insidious: sometimes people need to focus on navigating stressful public transit systems, or just have a few moments alone to read or listen to music. (Disclaimer: I do not do this frequently.) If this is something that you occasionally do, maybe take the necessary precautions not to unintentionally dox yourself.

Avoidants who make “sorry phone’s about to die!” excuses: you’re on notice.