Image and video sharing app Snapchat is launching a new service meant to inspire adventurers and travelers throughout the world. The service, called "Snap Maps", allows users to browse and view images and videos by destination, presented on a global map with special events appearing as bubbles above destinations. Links to snaps from both friends and strangers are superimposed over the Google Maps lookalike, allowing users to create a crowd-sourced catalog of events.
Statistically, the app is mostly popular among millennials, and this latest feature is likely to appeal to the demographic. It essentially combines limited photo blogging with Snapchat, allowing users to share photos of notable landmarks, famous restaurants, parades, and other events with both friends and complete strangers.
For other users, it enables them to gain a street-level view of popular tourist destinations, with large concentrations of snaps indicating a site may be worth visiting on their next vacation. The app is available globally, and given its popularity, it should develop a healthy population of users interested in the newest feature.
Snap Maps does not enable hotel booking, itinerary planning, unique deals, or any other features expected of dedicated travel websites and apps. Instead, the app offers a unique way to share and view travel experiences in real time.
The snaps are a dynamic, admittedly less polished, but all-the-more "real" way of vicariously experiencing landmarks and events across the globe. They provide users with abundant opportunities to look out for potential sites to add to their own future adventures. Frankly speaking, it's a clever way of tapping the platform's user base for the benefit of travelers, while also providing a unique platform for people to share their vacation experiences.