First comes Stories, then comes Snap Maps — Snapchat is continuing its push for new users by opening up select options to live outside the app on the web. On Monday, February 12, Snapchat launched the Snap Map URL that allows web browsers to access a map of Snapchat Stories.
Unlike most social networks that have both an app and a dot-com access point, Snapchat was entirely app-based until the company launched Stories Everywhere in January. The feature allows Snapchat’s stream of short video clips or photos to be shared on the web through a link. Now, Snapchat is applying the same idea to the Snap Map.
Now, visiting map.snapchat.com allows access to the geotagged Stories previously only accessible from the mobile app. Using the map, users can find Snaps shared nearby, or use a location to follow an event, like New York Fashion Week or the Olympics, or a travel destination. Like in the app, the map shows hotspots by color coding where the most Snaps are coming from. Clicking on one of those hotspots will automatically play the Stories one after another.
The Snap Map that lives online isn’t entirely algorithm generated either — Snap staff select featured Stories to add, while an algorithm decides what others to add.
Along with accessing the Snap Map from a URL, Snapchat is also now allowing the interactive map to be embedded in other websites as well, which looks something like this:
Tapping the share icon generates the embed code for whatever section of the map is currently on your screen. In keeping with the Snapchat’s ephemeral nature, the embed doesn’t last forever, but with a 30-day expiration, the map lasts longer than Stories. After the embed expires, the map will be replaced with a notice that the content is no longer available.
When Snap Map first launched, the tool brought with it privacy concerns, with many users opting to turn the geo-tagging off. In the web-based version of the Snap Map, the username is left out of the content, so if the content itself doesn’t give away the sharer, the identity of just who was at that location at that time is left out.
Snap is currently pushing to find more users to please investors, offering potential new users a glimpse at the social network online could spark additional app downloads for the company. While embedding a Snap Map may add socially curated content to any webpage on a local event, for Snapchat, the same feature could help more non-Snapchatters understand what the app is all about.
The Snap Map currently has 100 million users every month out of Snapchat’s entire 187 million user base.
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