Snapchat, the all-time mobile app favorite of millennials, has unpacked its latest update with major focus on the platform’s design and ‘separation.’ More about the latter below.
The new update though isn’t like previous iterations as it has introduced a new interface injected with Facebook-ish algorithms.
The new Snapchat has introduced two new feeds, the Friends and the Discover feeds. Visually, it is quite similar to the previous version but lacking one major feed — the chat.
For the new interface, users can initiate a chat conversation by finding the contact on the Friends feed and clicking their name. Similar to Facebook, the friends window will list most recent chats, followed by suggested contacts determined by Snapchat’s algorithm. It also introduced Stories of friends accessible via the friends feed.
Meanwhile, the Discover feed has stories from publishers, and the community. It is also being guided by an algorithm, ranking them based on subscription, consumption of content and other factors.
Behind this major update is a shift of focus of the mobile app. Snapchat is now relying on usage and interests of its users, as guided by its algorithm, and not displaying Snaps chronologically. Snapchat said they want to focus on showing users what they want (much like how Facebook works).
Snapchat is arguably struggling to stay relevant as major updates were released by Facebook and its baby, Instagram. The goal of Snapchat’s new update is to deliver relevant content to its users, as it grooms the platform to generate more revenue.
Snapchat could use its algorithm to determine the likes (and dislikes) of its users, thus giving them relevant advertisements as it gives users more reasons to stay on the platform.
To stay healthy and competitive, Snapchat needs ad money, apparently. Having a solid foundation for that is key.
As expected, the app’s vocal but loyal followers are not happy seeing the update, as reported by Mashable. In fact, they want the old Snapchat back so bad that they have created a brilliant Photoshop job that has spread on the web.
It’s fake of course, suggesting that the app will revert to its old interface if the tweet (with the photoshopped photo) will get 50,000 retweets. It has reached over 700,000.
The Snapchat update sucks. RT to save a life! pic.twitter.com/5JHLeNmtDW
— Isaac Svobodny (@isaacsvobodny) February 9, 2018
Defending the Update
In a video published on its YouTube page (and embedded on its blog post), Snapchat’s co-founder Kevin Spiegel briefly explained that the goal of the new update is to make the app “more personal,” as it addresses one of the biggest complaints on social media.
“One of the complaints we’ve heard about social media is that photos and videos from your friends are mixed in with content from publishers and creators and influencers,” he said. “But your friends aren’t content, they’re relationships.”
That statement, apparently, is a criticism directed at Facebook that has been getting a lot of complaints for fake news, confusing content, sketchy ads, and so much more.
Spiegel said the new update is separating “social” from the “media,” saying that friends are social, and the community and the publishers (also the advertisers) are media.
Separating friends on the Friends feed, and publishers, influencers and other content on the Discover feed will make the app “more personal,” said Spiegel.
Of course, only time will tell if this update will drive more people into the app, and make them stay, and not push them away.