Map Explore is being pegged as a tour guide, but it is basically a notification service for Snap Map that lets you know what's going on without requiring you to scroll around the Map on your own. Whenever a friend (who has opted in) shares their location, uses a new Geofilter in their Story, or heads to a mainstream event such as Coachella — you'll get an Explore update. You'll also get Explore updates when Snapchat posts in Our Stories, which are usually tied to larger events and breaking news.
In a post announcing the new feature, Snapchat says it created the Explore tool "because we noticed that when you open the Map, you aren't always sure where to start your journey." Whether this means that people aren't using the Map much, or simply aren't too keen on exploring on their own, is not entirely clear.
Many of the privacy concerns that were raised when the Map was first announced have since subsided as users have become accustomed to Ghost Mode, which allows you to look at Snap Map without sharing your location. If you turn on Ghost Mode, friends will not get Explore updates about your movements, either.
To use Map Explore, open Snap Map by pinching your fingers together on the main camera screen. Select "New Updates," which will appear at the bottom of the Map. Swiping horizontally will allow you to move from one update to another. To see what your current update is, tap the Settings icon in the upper right-hand corner of the Map. Here, you can delete your status or activate Ghost Mode to turn it off.
For friends who do opt in to sharing where they're headed, Map Explore offers an easy way to quickly see who's around that weekend or what adventures your former college roommate is taking. Still, a group text can do the same thing. The more useful application of Map Explore may be its ability to offer updates about breaking news, an area where the Map has already shown its value.
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