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How Zenly made social maps cool again — and what’s next –

Zenly has always been felt like a small social app that could be the next big thing. But it means Zenly is quietly becoming a socialite without anyone noticing – at least for now.

Originally designed for Paris, the app was taken over by Snap back in 2017. But that discovery was the beginning of Zenly’s crazy growth story. According to the company’s internal data, the app now reaches 35 million active users per month.

Today, the Zenly team is presenting its biggest remake ever. With the update coming out of the App Store and Play Store, Zenly founder and general manager Antoine Martin is using this stage to leave the company within a few weeks.

Before we unravel all of this, let’s take a look back at Zenly’s original theory. I first covered Zenly back in 2016. When you open the app, you are presented with a map showing your location and the location of your friends.

“This is not another messaging app. This is not a social network. This is not a service. It is something that sits in the middle of all these places.

That view has not changed much. Zenly still wants to make real social map maps. It is an unusual bet that has been around for many years. And the new Zenly can bring a new wave of users.

People and places

When it comes to measurements, Zenly works better than ever. March 2022, according to him data.ai (formerly App Annie), Zenly was the 10th most downloaded social networking site in the world. There are still nine apps in front of Zenly. But popular social apps like Discord and Twitter are not growing as fast as Zenly.

There is a reason Zenly does well if. “When the arrest warrants are lifted, when people go back, they need Zenly,” Antoine Martin told me.

“It’s still a very personal, very reasonable and very social product.” Antoine Martin

But the company does not want to stop. I have been using the updated app for a week. Redesign is confusing at first but it is the foundation of hope for the future. It does not look like Zenly as the design language is completely different. There are new features while some of the existing features have been refined.

The old Zenly introduced many rainbow colors, dynamic emojis and playful design elements. Both were bright and fun, but it also felt like a candy bar in the big market.

Here is what Zenly looked like when Snap got back in 2017:

Pictures of Zenly 2017

Copyright: Zenly

When you open the redesigned Zenly app, it feels a lot worse. Profile screens and conversations now have a dark background. The large buttons at the bottom of the screen look like neon signs in a modern restaurant.

With this new look and feel, Zenly wants to appeal to a wider user base. “What attracts college students around the world today?” Antoine Martin summed it up.

Instead of bold and round letters, Zenly now relies on thin, elegant letters. You will also immediately notice the constant interest rate on the map in a variety of yellow and orange colors. Like video games in strategy, it displays your footprints – it shows where you have been and where you have not been yet.

Here it is again:

Pictures of the new Zenly

Copyright: Zenly

“Since the end of last year, we have been working on a global overhaul of the entire app. maps, ”Martin said.

There are now three buttons at the bottom of the screen. The message system is front and center. When you click on it, the list of recent conversations will pop up at the bottom of the screen.

In the lower right corner, the button allows you to move closer to the map or see the latest features. This way, you can see where you have been in the last few days, share with important friends and more.

“It’s still a very personal, very realistic and very social product,” Martin said.

Finally, in the lower left corner, there is a magnifying glass icon. Only this button hides a lot of capabilities.

“What has grown is places. We think we can build something better than anyone else,” Martin said. “Zenly has this unique ability to run smoothly in the back. We have eliminated the drag-and-drop involved in checkpoints.”

“Places and activities are the best ways to make a personal map,” he added.

On the search screen, you can look at a friend to see what they contain. When you click on the profile, you will see where they are, how long they have been here and who they are with. You can also see the most recent highlights, start a conversation and click on the ‘What’s New’ button.

That look has been around for a while now and has become quite popular. She sends a request to a friend, asking them to record and share what is happening now.

From the search screen, you can also now search for places, such as bars and restaurants. The search experience itself is excellent as the list is updated with a fraction of each new second

The card everywhere has basic information, such as address and telephone number. But Zenly also adds contextual information to give you clues about this particular area. For example, you can see if it is the right place for senior staff, if the best friends seem to be there or if there are a lot of visitors.

Open my world

In today’s update, Zenly wants to compassionately build a graph of space. Users do not have to open the app and check it when they go to their favorite bar. Instead, the company wants to learn from your habits and enlighten you and your friends with that information.

For each icon page, there is a new section called ‘My World’. You can tap to see someone at the top of the city and at the top. You can also see some nearby places to get a good sense of their lifestyle.

But you can also use that feature to navigate through the map and look at places. It is a great way to discover new places or revisit old favorites.

‘My world’ is automatically locked due to privacy issues. After installing the update, users can choose to enable the profile attribute, which means you will generally share some information. For example, everywhere there is a board with people often going there.

Interestingly, Zenly creates a global transmission event around this feature. When you choose to participate in ‘My World’, your map is not immediately open as Zenly wants to expand the map to your favorite places.

Instead, the people of power today will get counting. After three days, you will be able to explore your world and allow others to explore your world. The feature is currently a bit disappointing as there are not many beta version users. I can’t wait to see the company data of millions of users.

100 million

When I installed the beta version of Zenly on my phone, I had to type “100 million” to unlock it. Zenly, everything makes sense. And that number is the company’s growth for active monthly users.

Zenly was a different kid when Snap got it. The company had 120,000 active users a day. “Zenly is now the largest social app in Europe ever,” Martin said.

“We joined Snap five years ago and started working with Zenly eleven years ago.” Antoine Martin

Yet, if you live in the United States, chances are you haven’t heard of Zenly. “Today in the United States, we are really very young but we have never tried to grow up there since we joined Snap,” Martin said.

The app is especially popular in Japan, Southeast Asia and Eastern Europe. There are also many people who have registered in Brazil and India. Obviously there is still a lot of potential that is not being exploited. But that will not be the work of Antoine Martin.

“We joined Snap five years ago and started working with Zenly eleven years ago. I want to move forward. I haven’t had the opportunity to take a long paternity leave,” said Martin.

he did not tell me what he planned to do next. First, he will take a few months off. He may then start a new company.

Going forward, Snap chief Evan Spiegel will take over at Zenly (including the rest of Snap). It can point to collaboration between Zenly and Snap as Zenly has been independent since its acquisition.

“I want to thank Antoine for his leadership of Zenly over the years, and for his friendship. I further encourage his vision and wish him all the best for the future,” Evan Spiegel said in a statement. “We will ensure its success and we are confident that we will make Antoine proud of our product management and Zenly vision.”

When I met Antoine Martin, he went on to say that Zenly had fully arrived – “the boucle is bouclée”As he would say in French. I asked him why he kept saying that.

“We came full because we reached the original vision,” he said.