Zenly is not a new app. We first saw its launch back in 2016, a year before getting acquired by Snapchat for a whopping $213M. Despite being an inspiration for Snap’s map feature, Snap decided to continue running Zenly as a separate product.
Recently the team launched Zenly 5.0 and earned Product of the Day. If you need some context as to what Zenly is – it’s a social maps app that marks all the places you and your friends have been. The app lets you see where your friends are, using always-on GPS, so no need for check-ins. You can then message them from the app to make plans and hang out.
The Paris-based team has been heads down working on its biggest redesign to date for its now 35 million monthly active users. One of Zenly’s makers shares “you’ll see new features like public profiles and auto check-ins for places (this is our antidote to curated posts on other social platforms). You’ll also find your footprints (your virtual scratch map) that show all the areas you’ve uncovered and haven’t yet been on your map.”
Looking at the versions side-by-side, the update feels a lot more grown-up, elegant, and aligned with today’s design trends. The initial playful, colorful, emoji-filled appearance has been replaced by a dark mode mixed with trendy gradients. As expected with major redesigns (remember Snapchat’s 2018 update?), reviews have been mixed, although most of its supporters seem to be excited about the new features.
If you haven’t heard much about the app, that’s not surprising if you’re in the US. Since its inception, Zenly has been mostly focused on growing in Europe and Southeast Asia, and it’s growing in popularity in Brazil and India.
We recently saw Snapchat's Q1 results show that the photo-sharing app is growing faster than its rivals Meta and Twitter. Snap’s CEO, Evan Spiegel, is taking over from Zenly’s founder soon, and it will be interesting to see where he takes the social app.
The social space is getting a lot of buzz right now, but it’s notoriously difficult for newcomers to break through. We’re excited to see new and old players build and innovate. What are your thoughts on Zenly’s take on social? Let the team know in the comments.
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