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Snapchat Updates Mapping Feature to Be More Private

Photo: Ute Grabowsky/Photothek via Getty Images

It’s been just about a year since Snapchat rolled out the Snap Map, a real-time map that shows you snaps from users all around the world. That part of the map remains an excellent and fun way to waste time while seeing what folks are up to in [insert your chosen faraway location here]. The other feature that came with the map, however, never quite took off the same way. With the Snap Map, Snapchat also introduced a feature that showed you where your friends were by showing their Bitmoji on the map. It was an opt-in feature, one that, understandably, seemed to freak some users out enough to keep them from using it.

Now, Snapchat is changing the feature a little bit to make it less creepy, TechCrunch reports. While users have always had the ability to block select people from seeing their location — or to go into “Ghost Mode” and be invisible for a chosen number of hours — the app will soon let users send their location directly and privately to a single friend. Users will also be able to request locations from friends. If you send someone your location, they’ll be able to see it for eight hours. If you send someone your location and change your mind, you’ll be given an option to stop sharing your location.

From TechCrunch:

Now when you long-press on a friend’s name or hit the three-line hamburger button on a chat thread, you’ll get the option to Send Location or Request Location. It only works with bi-directional friends, so you can’t ask for the spot of your favorite Snap star if they don’t follow you back, and you can turn off getting requests in your settings if people are spamming you.

As far as Snapchat’s ideas go, this one is solidly good. The functionality of the Snap Map — I’m one of only a few of my friends who consistently has the Map tracking feature turned on — has been great from the start. This might actually get people to use it. At any rate, it’s at least a better idea than Snapchat’s plans to make Spectacles — the company’s first attempt failed to the tune of a $40 million loss — happen again.

Snapchat Updates Mapping Feature to Be More Private