Instagram Developing A Snapchat-Like Feature Called 'Friend Map'

Instagram is developing a “Friend Map” -- a feature very similar to Snapchat’s Snap Map, which uses a device’s location information to help users locate their friends in real-time on a virtual map visible in the app.

Friend Map was initially spotted by reverse engineer and mobile developer Alessandro Paluzzi, who shared screenshots of the internal prototype on Meta's microblogging platform Threads. According to the images, users can choose who is able to see their location on the live map, with options to share their location with followers who follow them back or people on their “Close Friends” list.

Users would also be able to leave “Notes” –– the short message update feature currently included in users’ direct messaging feeds –– on the map for others to catch up on what's going on in certain locations, effectively tying status updates to specific places.



In addition, Instagram says locations are end-to-end encrypted, while the map features a “Ghost Mode” that allows users to hide their last active location.

By copying another one of Snapchat's core features and integrating it into its own app, Meta is likely attempting to steer more user attention away from competitor apps. In 2016, Meta imitated Snap's Stories feature, building it into one of the company's most popular in-app experiences./p>

Friend Map may also be a result of an ongoing trend of younger consumers choosing to use TikTok and Instagram as their primary search tool when looking for new places to visit, rather than Google Search or Google Maps. The tech giant first took note of this shift in consumer behavior when it launched Instagram's searchable map in late 2022, inviting users to peruse tagged locations in their vicinity.

Meta confirms the feature but says it has not yet been tested externally.

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