Snapchat unveils new story modes, updates to Snap Map, improved Bitmoji, and more

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At today’s Snap Partner Summit in Santa Monica, Snapchat unveiled a range of new features coming to its app. The company is rolling out new Stories features, adding updates to the Snap Map, improving Bitmoji, introducing new ways to interact with friends virtually, and more.

Snapchat is launching two new shared story modes, starting with “Communities,” a shared story for interacting with people in the same school. With this new Story Mode, users from the same school can see what other people on campus are doing, make new friends and share their thoughts. Snapchat has been testing the new Story Mode in select schools and plans to roll out Communities to other colleges and high schools this month.

Snapchat's After Dark Story feature

Image Credits: snapchat

The second new shared story mode is called ‘After Dark’. You can still add to an After Dark Story after 8pm. Snapchat sees the new feature as a way to relive last night’s highlights, whether you were up late studying for the finals or headed to a concert. Only the friends who posted on the After Dark story will have access to view the Snaps when they are shared the next morning. Snapchat plans to add a similar shared story for early risers in the future.

Snapchat also announced an update to Memories, its flashback feature that allows users to reminisce about what they were doing on a given day exactly one year ago. The company is now launching “Friendship Flashbacks” which bring up throwbacks generated from the Snaps saved between you and a friend. The flashbacks come right back in your conversations.

Snapchat's new Flashback memory feature

Image Credits: snapchat

As for the Snap Map, the company is introducing a new location sharing mode called “Live Location” that updates in the background. Prior to this update, you could only share your location with a friend for a certain period of time, but now you can do so indefinitely. The new feature is similar to Apple’s Find My in that it constantly shares your live location with a friend.

Snapchat also improves the Snap Map and adds 3D visual elements. When you hover over the new map, you’ll see local landmarks in a more detailed way. The company says the goal of the new map is to allow users to explore their environment in a new way. The new updated map will roll out to all users in the coming months.

Snapchat's new 3D map

Image Credits: snapchat

In addition, the updated Snap map will begin suggesting places that Snap thinks users want to visit. Snapchat is adding a new “Popular Last Night” tag to the Snap Map to show users where their friends recently hung out. Jack Brody, Snap’s VP of Product, said at the event that the company found that when the most active users see places marked as “Top Picks” on the Snap map, they are 18% more likely to visit that place in person .

As for AR, the company recently rolled out a lens that allows users to virtually appear together on a video call, say in a car or swimming together in the sea. To build on this, Snapchat plans to soon launch a more interactive Lens that will allow users to solve puzzles and play games together while having a face-to-face video call.

Snapchat calls Lens

Image Credits: snapchat

Snapchat is also introducing a new activity center that makes it easier for users to keep up with what their friends are up to. You can swipe down from the camera to access the activity center and see where your friends are on the Snap Map, get notified when your friend has updated their Bitmoji outfit, and see if someone has a birthday.

In terms of Bitmoji, Snapchat has announced that it plans to launch an updated avatar style with a more expressive look with realistic dimensions, shadows, and lighting. The company did not reveal further details about the updated design, but said the change was coming “soon”.

Updated Snap Bitmojis

Image Credits: snapchat

As for Bitmoji apparel, the company has announced that it’s bringing Marvel digital fashion to its Bitmoji community. Users can customize their Bitmoji with accessories inspired by characters from the Marvel Universe.

Snapchat says nearly 1.7 billion Bitmojis have been created worldwide, which is a significant increase from the 1 billion figure shared at the Snap Partner Summit event last year.

Learn more about Snap Partner Summit 2023

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