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Snapchat now offers a real-time location-sharing feature

If you’re a college student, your friends and family may ask that you to call or text them as soon as you get home from a date. Now, there’s a new way for people to look out for each other. Snapchat has introduced a real-time location-sharing feature that lets friends and family know where you are.

As reported by The Verge, this feature works kind of like the Find My app on iOS, as well as similar live location features from WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. It’s designed to be a virtual temporary buddy system while you’re en route to a date or on your way home at night, whether you’re by yourself or with your date. Snapchat collaborated with the nonprofit organization It’s On Us to create the feature it believes will help combat the surge of campus sexual assault, especially as students continue to return to in-person learning on campus after months of virtual learning due to the pandemic.

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Snapchat says Live Location only works between the individual user and their trusted friends and family members, and it can be enabled for 15 minutes or a few hours, depending on the user’s preference. They can also pause the feature without sending a notification to the trusted party to reduce the risk of stalking or being pressured to share their location every minute.

The feature is slowly being rolled out, so it may not be live on everyone’s Snapchat account yet. Once it hits your Snapchat account, you’ll see a button below the Snap Map on your profile that says Share My Live Location. To enable it, tap on Share My Location and select the duration you want to share your location, which ranges from 15 minutes to eight hours. Your live location status will be visible in the chat window of the friend or family member of your choice.

This feature is the first real-time location-sharing feature for Snapchat, which already offers the option to let users see their friends’ location when they last used the app. It also arrives one month after Snapchat implemented the Quick Add feature as a safeguard against drug and pornography exposure to minors.

Snapchat has also announced that users will be able to change their username. To do this, go to your profile screen by tapping the Bitmoji icon on the top-right corner of the screen. From there, tap Settings (or the gear icon), then select Username and finally Change Username. Changing your username will not affect your contacts, your Snap Code, or your memories.

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