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Snapchat launches real-time location sharing feature

The security feature is being rolled out as more people return to school campuses, travel, date and resume what they did before the pandemic, the company said. The feature, which is similar to Apple (AAPL)‘s Find My app allows users to Share your real-time locations with a friend for 15 minutes, one hour, or up to eight hours.

Snapchat partnered with It’s On Us, a nonprofit founded in 2014 to combat sexual assault on campus, to create the feature.

Since 2017, Snapchat has allowed users to share their locations with friends in its Snap Map feature, which updates a location only when the user has the app open. The company said that 250 million users use Snap Map every month.

Last May, Snapchat said it reached 500 million monthly active users. According to a survey conducted by the company, 78% of his US app users wouldn’t hesitate to share their locations on Snap Map, and most do so as a safe way to connect with others.

Like Snap Map, the new feature will remain off by default. Snapchat users can turn on their location “in an instant,” the company said, but only with specific friends. To reduce the risk of harassment, the company has limited the amount of time and with whom Snapchatters can share their instant location.

Snapchatters can start using the feature by going to a friend’s profile and tapping on a new option that allows live sharing. The app provides a pop-up public service announcement informing users that the feature should be shared only with trusted friends and family.

The company also announced this week that Snapchatters can change their usernames starting in late February, a feature previously unavailable in the US.

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