Snap turns spotlight on location with personalized maps, local businesses, AR


In a nod to how geography plays a central role in building an interconnected social networking platform, Snap has announced a series of location-centric updates for Snapchat. Let’s dive right in…

Snap Map comes front and center

Snap Map

Snap CEO Evan Spiegel openly recognizes in an interview with The Verge that there is a huge opportunity is in personalizing the Map and making it reflect the world the way the Snapchat users see it. It’s all about “about creating a map that reflects who you are — who your friends are, what they’re doing, and what the world looks like right now, because you can see people’s Snaps,” Speigel says.

So, Snap is making the Map much more discoverable by placing it right inside the Action Bar, on the left of the chat screen. This will make it easier for users to both explore the snaps from their surroundings and see where their friends are.

Places for local businesses

Snapchat Places

Snap Map is used by 200 million Snapchatters every month. And the company now wants to leverage that massive user base by adding millions of business listings from around the world to the map.

Snap has introduced a new feature called ‘Places’. The Place profile of any business will include Snaps from the location, the address, hours of operation, and reviews from TripAdvisor and Foursquare.

“I think what’s going to be so cool is that no matter where you are in the world, you can see the places that are popular with Snapchatters. You can see when they’re popular. And I think we’re going to do a much better job over time, highlighting and surfacing you know the right businesses for you based on who you are, so that I think is just a big opportunity. I frankly feel like we waited too long to add businesses to the map,” Speigel admits in The Verge interview.

AR-powered Local Lenses

Local Lenses is an uber-cool new augmented reality (AR) feature by Snap that would allow developers to create geography-specific AR lenses. Basically, you and your friends will be able to step into augmented reality at the same time and decorate nearby buildings with colorful paint and experience a whole new dimension of AR!

More than 170 million people access Snapchat’s AR features on a daily basis, so obviously, there’s a huge opportunity there as well. Interestingly, this geography-specific AR system will allow Snapchat to turn public Snaps into spatial data which can then be used to map huge physical spaces in 3D.

Ishveena is a geospatial enthusiast and a freelance technology writer who has been named among Geospatial World's 50 Risings Stars 2021. With 13 years of mainstream journalism and digital content writing experience, Ishveena is passionate about bringing to the fore the value of location technology to the economy and society. Her clients include GIS corporations, proptech companies, fintech leaders, and some of the world's top drone manufacturers and service providers.


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