Snap is introducing a new feature called Map Explore today that will alert and update users about what’s happening on their Snap Map. Snap says the travel and location updates will automatically appear on users’ Snap Maps when friends opt to share their location. The feature will also show Explore updates for Our Story snaps, including breaking news and other events from around the world.
The new feature is an easier way for users to explore content on Snapchat based on location, which is a nifty tool if you want to see what’s happening elsewhere... or see when your friends are hanging out without you.
Snap says it’s introducing this tool to make updates easier to find. “We made Map Explore because we noticed that when you open the Map, you aren’t always sure where to start your journey,” the company said in a statement. “Unless you swiped outside your city, you might never see some of the amazing events our community is capturing.”
Snap notes that Map Explore updates are generated by actions your friends make in real life, “inferred from the locations they open the app at.” That means that if your friend is sharing their location on the map but hasn’t opened the app in eight hours, their location will disappear. Only one status is visible for each user at any given time, and each status can be viewed for up to 24 hours.
To access the feature, pinch to zoom out from the camera screen when you launch the app. Tap on new updates at the bottom of the screen, then swipe horizontally to scroll through updates from your friends and other content from Snap Map. If you want to delete your status or turn on Ghost Mode (which hides your location) tap on the settings icon in the top right hand of the map.
Snapchat launched Snap Map last year as a tool to let users share their location with friends. Friends appear on the map in the cartoon Bitmoji form, and you can view snaps they’ve shared based on location. Snap Map also has a collaborative “Our Story” section, that collects snaps taken at a particular location that’s popular. The location-based snaps from Snap Map can also be embedded online.
The feature initially led to concerns about privacy, but Snap says sharing your location details on Snap Map is always opt-in and won’t be shared unless you choose to do so.
The feature will roll out globally over the next few weeks.