Snap, the company behind the mega-popular Snapchat, is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to ephemeral messaging. The company has made such a huge impact over the years that a lot of other companies, including Facebook, have worked seemingly overtime to copy/twist many of the service's features. And now the company is turning its sights on location sharing.
Yesterday, Snap announced what it calls "Snap Map." You access it from the default camera view with a quick pinch out, and from there you're greeted with a map that shows you an "actionmoji" of your friends on Snapchat. You'll get to see where they last opened the app, or if they have the app open at the time get a peek in real-time where they are.
Users can opt out of sharing their location, too, which is a good thing, and Snapchat will only log where you are when the app is open. So, hopefully, no background tracking going on. Snap says it's a quick way to see where your friends are, and maybe it will even prompt you to get some traveling done, too.
Location sharing isn't new by any means. But it's something that I've stayed away from, more or less, over the years.
The only time I really threw caution into the wind when it came to location sharing was when Foursquare was in its heyday. I loved that app -- only for the leaderboard, though. My competitive side came out when using that app, and I was in a constant flux for first place with friends, which kept me using it and letting people know where I was.
Since then, though, I think I've used a location sharing feature maybe one time, and that was when someone shared their location with me. They couldn't explain exactly how to get to them, and they didn't know the address. So they shared their location with me and I was able to find them easily.
Even in a situation like that sharing your location is super helpful, and I understand the appeal, especially when your location is essential. If an emergency arises, being able to just drop a pin on your location and give it to those who might need it is awesome, and much better than having to find an address and type it in, or try to give directions in a text message.
But other than that, or just sharing your location in general, is not something I've grown into a fan of. But Snap obviously sees something here, or they wouldn't have spent time to develop Snap Map. I'm not entirely sure that just seeing an "actionmoji" on a map would inspire me to travel, but seeing someone post snaps of where they are certainly does the trick.
Snap's new feature made me wonder if sharing your location is something that a lot of people are doing these days. I know Facebook has a feature where it shows nearby friends, and Apple has even given it a concerted effort in the past, but I want to hear from you whether or not this is a must-have feature for you these days. Are you excited about Snap's Snap Map? Or do you prefer to not share your location at all? Let me know!