Snapchat users will have a new way of keeping tabs on friends. The company announced today it would introduce real-time location sharing, meant to be used as a temporary buddy system while friends and family are en route to a date or headed home, for example.
The feature is similar to the Find My app on iOS, where users who’ve opted in can see and share precise location. The Snapchat setting can be enabled for 15 minutes or a few hours with individual users, and is only available between mutual friends on the app. In order to lower the risk of stalking or being pressured to constantly share location, users can pause sharing without sending the other party a notification, Snapchat says. The feature is off by default and there is no option to share real-time location with all Snapchat friends.
To enable the setting, users navigate to a friend’s profile and select the duration of location sharing. The status of live location sharing is visible within the chat window with that friend.
This update is the first live location feature for Snapchat. Users already have the option to let friends see where they were when they last used the app, which populates the Snap Map — used by 250 million Snapchat users a month.
For this rollout, Snapchat is partnering with It’s On Us, a national nonprofit program focused on stopping campus sexual assault. In addition to the buddy system feature, beginning today Snapchat will include an in-app message about bystander awareness.