Snapchat, the don’t-call-it-a-sexting-app picture and video communication app of youth ages 14-35, has received a major update today which will include a change in the mechanism for viewing content, as well as a new way to add friends. There’s also a fun—but less functional—change to Snapcodes, those QR codes that make it easy to add friends using just your camera…
First off, viewing user generated content will require only a single tap to begin playing the content, compared to today’s tap-and-hold mechanism which requires keeping your finger on the screen until the content is finished playing. The second change is a new way to add friends, called Nearby Friends. It’s pretty self-explanatory – people nearby who have the Nearby Friends feature of the app opened will appear in a list from where you can quickly add them. “If everyone opens Add Nearby, a list of your friends will appear on the screen,” says Snapchat in its blog post announcing the changes. “Just tap to add.”
Finally, Snapchat is adding the ability to superimpose a selfie of yourself on top of your Snapcode. They say this change will make it “easier for friends to recognize you when you add them on Snapchat.” As you don’t see a person’s Snapcode when they add you (at least right now), it seems that the company just means that this will help people recognize you when you share a Snapcode. “If you see a Snapcode in another app, just take a screenshot. You can add screenshotted Snapcodes through Add Friends.” The QR code isn’t dead, after all.
The change to how snaps are viewed is especially significant because it has been widely believed that making users keep their finger on the screen while they watch something is a strong guarantee to advertisers that their Snaps are actually seen. The recently launched Discover product, wherein large publishers like Yahoo and MTV create daily feeds of news and entertainment content, doesn’t require tapping and holding on the screen, however, and those streams of content include advertisements from large brands, so it doesn’t seem Snapchat believes they need to preserve tap-and-hold.