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Check out cellphone Location Sharing before you need it

by JOY SCHWABACH | October 2, 2021 at 1:55 a.m.

I lost my phone on a bike path the other day when it fell out of my bike basket. I emailed a friend and he knew right where it was.

Thanks to Location Sharing in Google Maps, he told me it had been turned in at my condo's front desk.

To test just how good Location Sharing is, I took long walks with my phone. Most of the time, it was two blocks off, because I kept moving. When I sat on a bench, I could be pinpointed most of the time. If I kept the Google Maps app open, it got even better. But it only became 100% accurate if I asked for directions somewhere, then tapped "start" to get a turn-by-turn voiceover. When I was on a train, for example, I could be spotted moving from stop to stop.

If you want to share your location, click the Google Maps icon on your phone or PC, then click your profile picture and choose Location Sharing. I like to tap a point of interest on the map and scroll down to see photos, videos and 360-degree panoramas of the area, if any were taken by the Google team. But if you just want to find a lost Android, go to For iPhones, go to and choose "Find iPhone." Try this before you lose it; there may be permissions to turn on.


An air bag for bikes is coming out next year. It's part of a backpack.

The Commute Air Pro 18 from Evoc Sports analyzes the position of the cyclist 1,100 times per second. If it detects an impending fall or collision, the air bag will inflate in 0.2 seconds, the company says. This reduces the acceleration force of the cyclist by as much as 80%. The inflated bag envelops the neck and covers the chest. It's designed to minimize back and head injuries. A removable insert helps protect your spine.

The air bag is triggered by the explosion of an electric igniter. After the air bag has been deployed and checked for damage, the system can be used again with a new cartridge. The Commute Air Pro will sell for $1,000 in 2022.


A reader said: "I've been receiving reminders that my McAfee antivirus subscription has expired. The company is offering a discount renewal for $45." He wants to know if he should renew or not.

According to TechRadar and other sites, you just need Windows Defender, which is free and part of Windows. In AV-Comparatives' most recent test, Defender stopped 99.5% of threats. According to SE Labs, it stops 99%. Applause!

I'm going to let my BullGuard antivirus subscription drop when it comes due. I wouldn't even bother using Malwarebytes if I didn't already have a lifetime subscription. The key is to avoid clicking on risky links. I have a friend who used Windows XP well into the Windows 10 era, without virus protection. Because of safety habits, she never ran into problems.


Did you ever want to download a YouTube video? Here's one way to do it. Click "share" when you find something you like. Then click "copy" to get the link. Paste it into the search box at, which will download it as an MP3 file. That way you can listen to it offline or put it on other devices.

A reader writes that he's now on his fourth YouTube downloader app. "Usual story, free until they think they have you hooked, then it's fork over the dough or else." After downloading an MP3, he often orders the CD so he gets the much-superior "wav" format. I can't tell the difference.

The Google-approved method of saving YouTube videos for offline pleasure is to click on one in the YouTube app on your phone when you have a Wi-Fi or cellular connection, then tap "saved."


Recently, I made a selfie video by standing in front of the webcam that sits on my computer monitor. I wanted to show off my dance moves.

To take a selfie in Windows with a webcam, type "Camera" into the search box in the lower left of the screen, then tap the video icon. In the resulting video, I noticed my head was cut off for most of it. Though I looked better without my head, I cut out most of those sections.

Here's how to do it on a Windows computer. After launching the Photos app by typing "Photos" into the Windows search box, tap "Video Editor" at the top of the page, then click to add your video. Click "Trim" and drag the left marker to make the video start later, and the right marker to make it finish sooner. Then click "Done," "Finish video" and "Export."

To edit any video taken with an Android phone, open it in the Photos app, then tap outside the video to see the editing controls. Drag sliders from the right or left to get the part you want to keep. On an iPhone, open the Photos app and tap on the video you want to edit. Then tap "Edit." Move the sliders to change the start and stop times.


Internet freedom declined for the 11th straight year, according to

At least 48 countries have tightened regulations.

China ranks as the worst place for internet freedom. Other "not free" places include Russia, Venezuela, Thailand and 11 others. The U.S. score declined for the fifth straight year, but we're still considered free. For more info, do a search on "Freedom House Freedom on the Net."

Joy Schwabach can be reached by email at

Print Headline: Check out cellphone Location Sharing before you need it


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