The additions keep on coming for Instagram Stories. This week, reverse engineering expert Jane Manchun Wong has discovered that Instagram is working on a new map sticker for Stories which would display your location on a world map.
As you can see in this example, the map sticker would show a section of a world map image, including a marker for your location. You would imagine, due to privacy concerns, that you wouldn’t be able to zoom in too far on that map, giving viewers a precise location, but it could be another way to easily share where you are, and what you’re up to at any given time.
Map functions like this are always a delicate proposition. Snapchat’s ‘Snap Map’ tool has proven relatively popular, but given the smaller, enclosed audience focus of the app, it’s not likely to reveal a lot to outside viewers, and users have very strict control over their listings. Other map-type tools have fallen away – Facebook originally had a map tool for Facebook Live which was eventually phased out, while back in 2015, Facebook also came under fire after a third-party developer created a tool which could track people’s location history via similar map functionality built into Messenger (which has since been removed).
But then again, more recently, map and location update tools seem to be making a comeback. Instagram’s separate ‘Threads’ messaging app, which it launched last October, includes an automated status update option, which can provide context on what you’re up to at any given time by making an assumption, based on your location.
Instagram has gone to lengths to clarify that users do not share their precise location info through this option, but it does show that, maybe, users might interested in providing more context through location-based tools, and may be willing to do so despite potential privacy concerns.
A map sticker in Stories could align with that, giving users yet another way to quickly, visually add context to their Stories frames.
It makes sense, and with limits on how far you can zoom in on the map, seems relatively safe. Instagram might hesitate in launching such, but based on previous discoveries made by Wong, it seems likely that we’ll see an official announcement on the new sticker type within the next few months.