Popular photo-messaging app Snapchat is currently in the process of rolling out a new update to its Snap Map feature that includes a new function called Map Explore.
The Explore feature will notify and update Snapchat users about what is happening on their Snap Maps. According to Snapchat, the location and travel updates will automatically appear on the map when users choose to share their location with their friends and connections. Furthermore, the map has been updated to include content from ‘Our Story’, which includes breaking news and live images and videos from events across the globe.
The new features will make it easier for users to find and interact with content on the social app based on their location, which suggests that the company is moving in a direction that would see it working more as a social network instead of a picture messaging service. It is also a chance for users to see what is happening around the world, in specific locations of interest or what their friends are up to.
According to Snapchat, the tool has been introduced in order to make updates easier for users to discover. It created Map Explore to allow users to explore the world, as they may not get the opportunity to see what other users in the Snapchat community are capturing.
The Snapchat Map was initially introduced to the platform last year, as a tool to allow users to simply share their location with their friends. Each user is represented by a custom-made cartoon avatar of themselves, called a Bitmoji, and this is placed on the map when the app is opened. Users can then see snaps from these location through Our Story, which is a collection of videos and pictures taken at certain events and locations.
Upon its introduction, the feature initially received a lot of criticism and concerns over privacy, as the location tools were so strong that users could zoom in and pinpoint their friends right down to a specific house on the map. This led many concerned parties, such as parents, to voice their opinions as the app tends to be used by the younger generations.
Not every user’s location is displayed on the map; for it to be enabled, a user must opt in to the location detection services, as it is switched off as a default setting. Users then have the ability to switch the location services on and off at their leisure by enabling or disabling ‘Ghost Mode’, which hides the location from the map. Furthermore, the location disappears after eight hours of inactivity of the account.
To access the feature within the app, pinch out (or zoom out) on the camera screen. This takes you to the map, and it will default to your current location. The settings are in the top right corner where the user can make their location visible to their friends, as well as being able to access other settings.