Snapchat announced today that it will launch real-time location sharing, which will be used as a temporary buddy system while friends and family are on their way to a date or home, for example.
The feature is similar to iOS’s Find My app, in that users who have opted in can see and share precise locations. The Snapchat setting, which is only available between mutual friends on the app, can be enabled for 15 minutes or a few hours with individual users.
Users can pause sharing without sending the other party a notification to reduce the risk of stalking or being pressured to constantly share their location, according to Snapchat. The feature is disabled by default, and there is no option to share real-time location information.
Users can enable the setting by going to a friend’s profile and selecting the duration of location sharing. Within the chat window with that friend, the status of live location sharing is visible.
Snapchat’s first live location feature is included in this update. Users can already allow their friends to see where they were when they last used the app, which populates the Snap Map, which is used by 250 million Snapchat users each month.
Snapchat is collaborating with It’s On Us, a national nonprofit program dedicated to preventing campus sexual assault, on this rollout. In addition to the buddy system feature, Snapchat will include an in-app message about bystander awareness starting today.
Similarly, the app will allow users to change their usernames with a global update later this month. It means you’ll be able to keep the name you used before without having to create a new account. According to Snapchat, the new feature will be available for both iOS and Android on February 23rd.
To change your username, navigate to the profile screen by tapping the Bitmoji icon in the upper right corner of the camera. Select “Change Username” after tapping the gear icon, then “Username.” According to Snapchat’s press release, changing your username has no effect on your contacts, Snap code, Snap Score, or memories.
You can only change your username once a year, and Snap says you won’t be able to choose a handle that has previously been used, even by yourself. So, if you’re hoping to secure an already registered and inactive username, this change won’t help. Furthermore, it appears that once you switch, your old username is lost forever.