Snapchat releases ‘Snap Maps,’ aka a way to stalk strangers and events nearby
Snapchat, the app once glorified for its secret messaging capabilities, is now helping you see real things happening in real time.
The app’s latest update "Snap Maps" shows you what’s going in the world via a virtual map.
"We’ve built a whole new way to explore the world! See what’s happening, find your friends, and get inspired to go on an adventure!It’s easy to get started — just pinch to zoom out and view the Map!" a blog post on the update reads.
The promotional video above shows two friends, hanging out IRL and wondering what to do. So they open Snapchat and see snaps at a concert nearby that conveniently hasn’t started yet. So, they go. This is conceivably what Snapchat hopes users will do with this feature.
Here’s how it works:
A user’s friends on Snapchat are represented via Bitmoji, cartoons of themselves. Snapchat refers to them as "Actionmoji" in this new maps feature. These so-called "Actionmoji" will only appear if Snapchat users choose to share their location. You can choose to share your location with all your friends, select friends, or no one, which Snap refers to as "Ghost Mode."
Friends’ locations update only when a user opens Snapchat, which means you won’t be wasting battery life tracking locations.
Snapchat users can click on the "Actionmoji" to begin a chat.
Beyond "Actionmoji," there are also snaps shown on the map that don’t necessarily come from friends and show up as circular thumbnails. Rather they are ones submitted to "Our Story" by other Snapchat users. These snaps are from the past 24 hours and will most likely appear in popular places like Times Square or other tourist attractions, according to Snap.
Snap Inc. is having a rough past month, with viewership of Stories collapsing, app downloads declining, and the stock hitting an all-time low. This update adds to Snap’s narrative of its app being for close friends, where now you can more easily keep track and visually see where they are.
Location-based searching is available in competitor app Instagram, except Instagram users see posts from public accounts that the user doesn’t necessarily follow. That could change, of course.