Snapchat is once again getting a facelift. Today, at its (virtual) Partner Summit event, the company unveiled yet another new look for the app.
With the redesign, Snap is gaining two additional sections: one for the Snap Map, which will sit to the left of the chat screen, and a new Discover section that will highlight Snap’s original content. Snapchat users will still be able to swipe between the different areas os the app, but a new “action bar” will make its navigation more clear.
But the update isn’t just about making the app easier to use. With the new “action bar” Snap is putting its Map front and center. In addition to showing where your friends are and letting you view snaps from your surroundings, the company is introducing “places,” a feature that makes it easier to find local businesses and other locations, as well as any user-submitted snaps associated with them.
With places, Snapchat users will be able to view business hours and reviews, and make take-out and delivery orders (Snap is partnering with DoorDash, Postmates and Uber Eats for food ordering). CEO Evan Spiegel said the feature could help small businesses, many of which are struggling in the wake of widespread closures due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The new design also does a lot more to emphasize Snapchat’s growing slate of original content and user-submitted public snaps. While the new Discover sections creates a dedicated space for Snapchat’s original shows and other “premium” content, it also highlights the company’s curation efforts. A new “happening now” module will show users a personalized stream of news, weather and other updates. For example, you might see stories based on headlines pulled from the app’s publishers or local updates from your area. Or you could see Bitmoji-powered weather forecasts .
On the user-generated side, Snapchat is adding topic pages and topic-themed stickers to make it easier to browse shared “Our Story” content. The new topic stickers will essentially function as Snapchat’s version of hashtags. By adding the stickers to their snap — e.g. “life hacks” or “oddly satisfying” — they can more easily be pulled into the corresponding topic page for others to view.
While Snap has previously emphasized that its app is more focused on private communication between friends, the latest updates make very clear just how valuable the app’s public-facing aspects are. Features like Snap Maps (which has 200 million monthly users, according to Spiegel) and shows (some of which have tens of millions of viewers) are already popular despite the fact they weren’t easily found in the app. By making them more prominent, Snap can not only help them grow, but increase its ability to make money off of them.