Snap Map Brings Location Sharing to Snapchat

Constant GPS is one of the more controversial side-effects of satellite mapping. It's always optional, but understandably, some people aren't so wild about the idea of other people knowing exactly where they are at any given moment. Still, 'social mapping' is a much sought-after feature at the moment, and Snapchat have doubled down big time to get their own version.

Zenly is one of the more successful, recognisable social mapping apps. It's been downloaded around four million times, and is particularly popular among the teenage crowd. As it turns out, Snap acquired Zenly. Nothing is completely clear, but reports suggest that Snap threw down somewhere between $250 and $350 million for Zenly, and are letting them continue to operate more or less unimpeded.

At the same time, Snap have introduced a feature for Snapchat which is eerily similar to Zenly. Snap Map launched globally for all platforms in yesterday's update. It enables you to share your location with all your friends or a chosen group. Once your location is shared, it stays active for a few hours, unless you go into 'ghost mode'. Even when your location isn't active, you can look around the map to see where your other friends are.

Predictably, Bitmoji also factor into this. When users with a Bitmoji activate the feature, you can see their little avatar standing on the map like a progress marker in an old-school video game. The map also features 'heat' areas, highlighted in red, which indicate areas where a lot of Snaps are being shared. This is meant as an indication that something interesting might be happening, and ties in with the other new feature - Our Story.

Our Story enables users to submit their Stories in the hopes of them being publishes by Snapchat for 24 hours for all to see. In this sense, Snapchat are trying to bridge the gap between social use and current events. Zenly is more designed for helping people figure out when/where to meet up, whether as Snap Maps is about announcing what you're doing and where you're doing it.

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