Snap moved quickly to use location technology it recently gained access to through an acquisition of a France-based start-up, with the launch of a new feature called Snap Map.
In a post, the Snapchat maker said the map service offers a “whole new way to see the world”, by enabling users to find their friends using what it calls Actionmojis on a map.
Snap explained Snap Map is an opt-in service, with users offered the choice of sharing their location with their contacts or remaining hidden in a ‘ghost mode’.
The service uses technology developed by Zenly, the maker of a location sharing app, which TechCrunch reports Snap acquired in May for between $250 million and $350 million.
Zenly, a social networking app built for location sharing which launched in 2015, will run independently.
In September 2016, it raised $22.5 million in funding, which it planned to use to open a new San Francisco office, expand global reach and fund recruitment efforts in product development. Its total funding to date is $35.1 million.
At the time of the acquisition, the app had 2 million users in 186 countries.
According to Sensor Tower, the app racked up 4 million downloads, of which 28 per cent are in France, 12 per cent South Korea and 8 per cent Japan.
The app is popular amongst teens who use it to find friends at, for instance, school or concerts, and meet up offline.
TechCrunch said making plans with friends offers potential advertising opportunities for businesses including cinemas and restaurants.
Zenly is not the first example of Snap acquiring a company and using the technology to enhance its own app. For instance, in 2015 it bought Looksery for $150 million, which helped it to create its popular augmented reality filters.