Ever since its launch in 2011, the French-born location-sharing app, Zenly, has grown in immense popularity around the world. However, with the recent news of layoffs and cutbacks at Snap, Inc., Zenly is one of the branches of the social media giant that has been announced to be shut down completely.
This news comes as a shock to its 40 million users, as the app launched its redesign just a few months back. The date of when the app will discontinue services and what will happen with the social mapping app remains unknown. In this article we explore the Zenly app and what avid users of Zenly can do to prepare for its shutdown.
What is Zenly?
Created in Paris back in 2011, Zenly is a social mapping app that makes it easy to see your friends’ locations on the map. With the app, you can invite and share your location with friends, family, or anyone else that you want. Zenly was a standout in the location-sharing sector, as it put the map at its center. With fun interactive functions on the map, it makes checking on your friends’ locations, and even your own whereabouts, an addictive experience for its users.
In 2017, Snap, Inc. acquired Zenly for over $200M but left the app and their creative team relatively independent in their Paris office until now. As Snap announced its 20% cutbacks in employees, Zenly has become one of the most prominent branches of the company to be shut down. This comes as devastating news for the Zenly team, its supporters, and its 40M users.
This comes as a shock especially because the app has been doing well. The app has seen 160M downloads to date with 3M only from last month, while being ranked a top 10 social app for both iOS and Android in countries like Russia, Japan, and Taiwan.
Why the Zenly Shutdown?
In his public announcement to employees, CEO Evan Spiegel writes, “Given our current lower rate of revenue growth, it has become clear that we must reduce our cost structure to avoid incurring significant ongoing losses.” With the new focus on growth, Snap has made the decision to shut down services with a low likelihood of meaningful profit.
Part of Snap’s announcement included that the company would focus on its main product, Snapchat, which includes its own built-in location-sharing feature, Snap Map. Snap Map also allows businesses to promote through the app, allowing the company to generate ad revenue by selling advertisements on the map. Whether Zenly will be integrated into Snap Map or not remains unknown, but seems unlikely, considering the massive layoffs in the Zenly team.
What now for the users?
As soon as the news broke, avid Zenly users and admirers took up on Twitter. to express their outrage at the decision. Many fans expressed their disappointment at Snap’s shortsightedness, pointing out how loved Zenly is in countries outside of North America.
A lot of the Twiter conversations between users have been looking for the best alternative to Zenly. These users say that the app has become an integral part of their daily lives and they would like to continue to stay connected to their friends. A standout app based on the recommendations of Zenly users in Japan (where the app is the highest ranked social app), seems to be iSharing.
iSharing, another location-sharing app that was launched around 2016. While not owned by a social media giant, the app has still been able to successfully gather 30M users to date and is ranked highly in the US (where it’s headquartered) and East Asian countries, such as South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan. Similar to Zenly, it offers 24/7 location sharing between users who have added each other as friends.
Is iSharing the best Zenly replacement?
iSharing differs from Zenly in that they use Google Maps or Apple Maps to provide map information, which means the interactive portion of the Zenly app may be missing. However, the app still offers very high location accuracy with minimal battery usage and does a wonderful job of the location sharing function that is core to Zenly.
Unlike Life360 or other location-sharing apps that focus on family units, iSharing still functions well between friends by not requiring that users join “a group.” Each user can sign up and invite whoever they want as a friend. Once the users approve each other as friends, the location sharing is immediately initiated. The app also offers customizable privacy settings, allowing users to control what location information is shared with which friends.
Moreover, iSharing offers great safety features that Zenly never has. For instance, users can see their own and their friends’ location history for up to 90 days. Users can also set Place Alerts that send push notifications when a friend leaves or arrives at a designated space. In real emergency situations, users can send SOS Panic Alerts that send messages to all their friends to check on the user with immediate viewing of their location.
Want to give iSharing a try? Learn more about the app or download today!