Snapchat will soon let its millions of daily users share their location with friends using a new feature the company is calling Snap Map. From the default camera view, you pinch with two fingers to zoom out and see the map. Friends who have opted into sharing their location through Snap Map (it’s off by default) will appear in Bitmoji form. You can share with select friends, all friends, or with no one if you pick “Ghost Mode.”
Snapchat is very quick to note that your location is only updated when you open the app — so there shouldn’t be any background tracking to worry about. In fact, if you don’t open the app for several hours, your Bitmoji will disappear from the map rather than reflect a long-since-changed location. The Snap Map also shows where some snaps being shared to the collaborative “Our Story” originate from. And the heat zones on the map represent areas where a lot of those snaps are being taken. “These Snaps are sorted using advanced machine learning techniques that aim to surface interesting Snaps that are also safe and fun for our community,” a spokesperson told The Verge by email.
Snap Map should be rolling out to all users shortly via an update to the mobile app on Android and iOS. Other recent additions to Snapchat include “limitless” snaps, looping videos, creative tools including a magic eraser, and augmented reality world lenses. The company is continuously building out new features in an effort to maintain a strong position in its unending rivalry with Instagram, which has successfully replicated much of Snapchat’s appeal with Stories, and Facebook, which has found much less success.