Snapchat is changing the game.
In addition to puking rainbows and adding ten-second stories to show your followers how much fun you’re having at the bar, you can now see the exact location of where the snaps are coming from.
The app introduced a new feature called Snap Map today, which shows on a map where the person is snapping from and what’s happening around the world at any given moment. It wants you to meet up with friends in real life rather than just watching each others’ lives on your screen.
Snapchat wrote on its blog, “I’ve built a whole new way to explore the world! See what’s happening, find your friends and get inspired to go on an adventure!”
Once you have access to the new feature, you can share your location with all your friends, select a few friends or you can disappear from the map altogether by going into “Ghost Mode” or not opening Snapchat for a few hours. Sharing your location is turned off by default and you can leave it that way just to stalk your friends.
To get to Snap Map, you pinch on your Snapchat home screen and from there you can see where your friends are around the world. Tapping on their BitMoji avatar opens their story so you can see what they’re up to or it lets you directly message them to make plans and get all the details. The map looks like a very animated and cartoon-like version of Google Maps.
The feature also shows you where the snaps on the collaborative “Our Story” are coming from. The more snaps coming from a particular area, the more likely there’s some sort of newsworthy event going on. Those moments are shown as “heat” locations. The redder the location, the more stories there are coming from that spot.
You can basically virtually travel the world by seeing what’s going on at a particular place at that exact moment. It may inspire future travel plans or just keep you dreaming about where you could vacation if you could afford it.
While it may be a fun way to pass the time, Snap Map has the ability to break news like other apps such as Twitter and Facebook does. The Snapchat team tested the function tested the map feature in February 2016 when a crane collapsed in New York City. Stories started popping up in Manhattan and according to a product designer of Snapchat, the stores came in before police and other news sources showed up to the scene.
Snapchat definitely needed something new to compete with Instagram Stories and now Facebook stories. Instagram Stories has 250 million daily users compared to Snapchat’s 166 million. Snap Map may give the app the edge it desperately needs.
Here’s a trailer of how Snap Map works:
Looks like you’ll be able to satisfy your wanderlust by sending a snap from the comfort of your own home.