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Add a location widget for Google+ contacts

Not a fan of navigating through the Google+ app just to see where your friends and family are right now? The most recent update to Google+ added a widget that makes access to Locations quick and convenient.

Screenshot by Nicole Cozma/CNET

The recent update of Google+ to version 4.2 came with a handful of new features. The primary focus of the update was on photos -- both editing and sharing them -- but the update also added a location widget.

This Google+ Location widget gives you quick access to the whereabouts of friends or family from your Android Home screen. It's also a lot faster than navigating through the Google+ app, which involves: opening the app, going to Locations, opening the list of friends sharing their locations, and then finding the person whose location you want to see.

Here's how to skip all the fuss by just using the widget on one of your Home screens:

Make sure you're on version 4.2! Screenshot by Nicole Cozma/CNET

Note: Make sure you are using Google+ app version 4.2. To check, open the app, press Menu, then Settings, then tap on About Google+. The version number will be at the top.

Find some blank space for your new widget. Screenshot by Nicole Cozma/CNET

Step 1: Press and hold on any Home screen with space for a 4x2 widget. This means that the location widget will take up 4 icon spaces across and be 2 spaces tall. Select "Apps and widgets" from the pop-up menu. You may need to tap the Widgets heading on the next screen (depending on what kind of shortcut you created last).

Screenshot by Nicole Cozma/CNET

Step 2: Locate the Google+ User Location widget, then press and hold it to drag onto your Home screen.

Screenshot by Nicole Cozma/CNET

Step 3: Select whether you want the widget to display an entire Google+ circle (such as Family), or just one person.

Your new widget will look like this. Screenshot by Nicole Cozma/CNET

If you selected a circle of people, the widget will show a stack of cards that can be flipped through. Just swipe up and down to look through the stack. To open a larger map of someone's location, just tap on the widget.

This widget is great if you want to see when your significant other will be home for dinner, or you want to know where your kids are.