Snap Map Is Here And It Feels A Lot Like Foursquare 2.0
Snapchat wants to put check-in culture back on the map.
Snapchat’s just announced a new feature, Snap Map, which feels a lot like Swarm (formerly Foursquare), in that it uses location-based data to allow users to check in to various locales as they monitor their friends’ activity about town or around the world.
Of course, there are some big differences. First, while Swarm’s latest user count has not been recently publicized, Foursquare had 55 million users in 2016 and it’s likely that figure has since decreased. On the other hand, Instagram had 161 users at the time of its IPO. A second key difference is the centrality of content to the Snap Map experience versus Foursquare, which prioritized location-sharing and reviews over content-sharing.
Location-based apps like Foursquare were once hot in the marketing world and quite popular among early adopting tech enthusiasts, but buzz declined as content-centric platforms like Instagram and Snapchat entered the fray. While Swarm (Foursquare’s check-in app) still allows users to add content to their posts, this is limited to static images. Snapchat’s newest feature brings location into its existing fold, allowing users to share their location and see where their friends are around the world while at the same time allowing for creativity and fun via Interactive Stories.
So far in 2017, Snapchat has seen Instagram Stories surpass its own audience size and adopt a series of features (like filters) that closely emulate the core aspects of its product. Tough competition from Facebook on the content side of the equation seems to be pushing Snap Inc. to innovate in other areas, such as location (as indicated by Snap Maps) and augmented reality. Analytics from Sensor Tower detailed that the rate at which people are downloading Snapchat has dropped 22 percent over the first two months of Q2.
Tech Crunch has reported that Snap recently filed a patent application for AR glasses, which would indicate that the next version of Spectacles will likely pack AR powers. Google’s own efforts in AR wearables, Glass, was widely deemed a failed effort, but Snapchat has taken a more democratic approach to AR than Google did back in 2013. Unlike Glass, Spectacles are designed for and built on a platform that caters to Millennials and Gen Z. The price point is also dramatically different: Google Glass sold for $1,500, while Spectacles cost just a tenth of that.
At F8 earlier this spring, Mark Zuckerberg hinted at a future with no screens and alluded to wearable glasses that could layer digital information onto the physical world. At WWDC, Tim Cook alluded to Apple’s own aspirations when it comes to AR.
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