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Snap Map location-sharing feature improves Snapchat

Tap into Snapchat’s newest feature, Snap Map, and get off your couch and go meet your friends IRL and explore the rest of the world. The new feature, that was released today, allows snapchatters to share their location and also provides a heat map of where the most snaps are occurring.

Jack Brody, Snap product designer, stated “In a lot of ways, we’re taking what a map is and turning it upside down. This map isn’t about where am I, it’s about where are my friends and what are they up to? It’s not about figuring out how to get to your destination, but about discovering where you want to go.”

 

Snap Map puts user needs first

The idea of Snap Map was discovered from continually analyzing and observing user behavior. Jack Brody states, “…one of the habits we’ve seen with our users is that they’ll take a snap where they are, put on the geofilter, and post it to their story with a caption like ‘hit me up’.” In short, they are basically telling their friends to come and hang out with me. In addition, Jack mentions that Snap Map is about “layering relationships on top of what is happening in the world.” Snap is hoping to bring people and friends closer, triggering conversations that friends may not otherwise have.

 

Find your friend on the Snap Map

First of all, as long as you’re both mutual friends and have enabled to share your location, then you can see what each other is up to with Snap Map.

On Snap Map, your friend is designated with their Bitmoji. However, if they haven’t created one yet, then it will just be a silouhette Snapchat ghost with their name. Depending on what they are doing, their bitmoji can show that they are “driving” to Palo Alto in their bitmoji car or jetsetting to NYC in a bitmoji airplane.

To open up the Snap Map, go to your camera screen and pinch your fingers as if you are zooming out. Once on the Snap Map, you are able to see your friends (who have allowed location sharing) on the map as well as Top Stories/events in the area. These events and snaps can be enhanced by a heat map which shows a lot of snapchatter action (red) or minimal action (blue). Looking at the below pic, you can see that Golden Gate Bride is very active along with the Bay Bridge and AT&T Park.

Tap on a friend to start a chat or see when their location was last updated. Your location is only update when you’re using Snapchat.

To search for a friend, tap ‘Search’ button at the top of the screen and type their name.

 

Snap Map location settings

Reminder – your location on the Snap Map is only updated when you’re using Snapchat. Your location on the map will expire after several hours of if you go into Ghost Mode. This is pretty key as you don’t have to worry about you location being updated in the background (for a stalker) or Snapchat draining your phone battery. Note that I would close your app after using it so that you conserve battery from the general app running in your background.

When you’ve updated your Snapchat app, it will provide you with a tutorial about Snap Map. However, like we have come to experience, it is not as intuitive as we’d hope.   At first, you’ll be prompted to choose who to share your location with. Don’t worry, you can’ always update this setting later.

Only Me (Ghost Mode): your location won’t be visible to anyone else on the Map.

My Friends: your location will be visible to all of your friends on the Map as long as you are mutual friends.

Select Friends…: choose specific friends to share your location with. Note that they won’t get a notification that you selected them or didn’t select them, it’s just that they’ll be able to view your location in the Map.

To edit your location settings, just the tap the settings button in the top right corner of the Map screen and voila.

 

“Breaking” news…literally

One of the indirect results of Snap Map is that it has a potential to break news before traditional media channels. For instance, back in February 2016 when Snap Maps was in beta, a crane collapsed in New York and was published on Snapchat’s “Our Story” before police and the media arrived. In a way, increasingly becoming more and more of a media outlet. Brody states “That was this moment of ‘we gave something here…We had newsworthy content 10 minutes before the first news company actually arrived.”

 

Snap’s future – Maps, Spectacles, and Augmented Reality…

I don’t have the ability to see into future, but Snap has a few amazing things going for them. If they can continue to do more R&D and line their ducks in a row, I don’t think it would be impossible for them to connect Spectacles with Maps, and potentially intertwine Augmented Reality or Virtual Reality into the mix. Could you imagine, you are viewing someone’s story through Snap Map, and be there with them via virtual reality? Where do I sign up for that?

 

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