Another day, another Snapchat update.
There was once a time when people complained about continual UI updates from Facebook, but with apps like Snapchat adding new features on what seems like a weekly basis, we've come to accept - and maybe even appreciate - that the services we use regularly are constantly being refreshed with new tricks to keep us interested.
Snapchat, for instance, has announced that it "built a whole new way to explore the world". It's basically a location-sharing feature. The idea is, with this new Snap Map feature, you can easily meet up with friends in real life. It lets you share your current location, which then appears to friends on a map and updates when you open Snapchat.
But if you decide you want to keep your location to yourself, you can, with Ghost Mode. Confused? No worries. Here's everything you need to know about Snapchat's latest feature, Snap Map.
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What is Snapchat?
You can read all about Snapchat from Pocket-lint's guide here:
What is Snap Map?
Here's how Snap has described Snapchat's latest feature:
"With the Snap Map, you can view Snaps of sporting events, celebrations, breaking news, and more from all across the world. If you and a friend follow one another, you can share your locations with each other so you can see where they’re at and what’s going on around them! Plus, meeting up can be a cinch."
In other words, Snap Map essentially lets you share your location with all your friends or a few friends, and it also allows you to scroll around an actual map to see where your friends are located. When you open the updated Snapchat app, you will have access to the feature and can choose whether to share your location.
The goal is to get users to engage with their friends instead of just watching their activities via Snapchat, supposedly. But we don't think Snapchat would never really encourage its users to not use the app, and to be honest, by getting users to open Snapchat to see where friends are, it is ironically making them use Snapchat.
How does Snap Map work?
Open Snap Map
Make sure you're running the latest version of Snapchat. Then, go to your Camera screen, then pinch your fingers on the screen like you’re zooming out from a photo. The Snap Map should then appear.
Snap Map shows your friends and their location as illustrations - so-called Actionmoji - in real time. Actionmojis are created by Snapchat. They're a new form of Bitmoji. Remember, Snapchat bought Bitmoji, a free app that allows you to create personalised avatars of yourself. Anyway, Actionmoji are based on your actions.
So, if you’re listening to music, Snapchat will know that and show your Actionmoji with a pair of headphones. Snapchat may look at things like your location, time of day, or speed of travel to come up with your Actionmoji. Examples of Actionmoji also include things like: at the beach, at the airport, sitting, and more.
When you open the Snap Map for the first time, you’ll get a prompt to choose who to share your location with. If you choose to do this later, just tap the Settings button in the corner of the map screen. You can change who can see your location (all friends or select friends), or you can hide your location entirely with Ghost Mode.
Note: Your location is only updated when you’re using Snapchat.
If your friends share their location with you, then you can easily see them on Snap Map - just look for their Actionmoji. If they don’t have their Bitmoji account linked, then you’ll see them as a blank Bitmoji outline. To zoom back to your current location, just tap the current location button in the bottom corner of the Map screen.
You can tap on any friend on the map to start a chat or see when their location was last updated. To search for a friend, tap Search at the top of a screen and type in their name. Easy.
With the Snap Map, you can also view stories from all across the world. (See this Snap FAQ guide on how to post a story on Snapchat.) Snaps that were submitted to 'Our Story' will be visible on the map. You can view them by tapping their circular thumbnail. They show up at special locations, such as a museum. You can also follow the heatmap: blue = a few snaps taken; red = tonnes of snaps.
Just remember that Our Stories are collections of snaps submitted from different Snapchatters throughout the world. They're curated by Snapchat to capture a place or event from different points of view.
Want to know more?
Check out our Snapchat tips and tricks guide.