Snapchat is testing a new Status feature that allows you to check-in and show what you’re currently up to on the service’s Snap Map. The feature, which was first spotted by app researcher Jane Manchun Wong, allows you to set a custom pose for your Bitmoji avatar, which will then be visible on your friends’ maps. However, your Status is only visible to friends you share your location with. These statuses are then collected together into what Snapchat is calling your Passport, a private log of the places you’ve visited.
Statuses appear to be an expansion of Snapchat’s existing Map Explore feature, which automatically assigns your Bitmoji a status under certain circumstances like when you take a flight, or attend sporting or music events. The difference with Status is that you have more control. You can have your Bitmoji hold a sign saying “Text Me?” if you want your friends to get in touch, or else you can show it watching TV if that’s what you’re up to.
Like Snapchat’s existing location features, Status is an opt-in service. You can appear invisible on the map by putting yourself into Ghost mode, and can select which friends you share your status with. Your location doesn’t update when the app is closed, and it disappears entirely from Snap Map if you don’t open the app for eight hours.
TechCrunch notes that Statuses could be a valuable new feature for Snapchat, which has been forced to refocus on its core messaging service after Instagram cloned its Stories feature with great success. The feature could also provide valuable ad-targeting data to Snapchat about where its users are based and what they like to do at various locations.
In a statement, Snapchat confirmed that it is currently testing the Status feature “with a percentage of Snapchatters in Australia.” There is currently no word on when the feature will be widely released.