Snapchat is bringing third-party apps into its app with “Minis,” pared down versions of popular apps that can be accessed during conversations in Snapchat.
The news follows Snapchat’s move last year to open its app to outside game developers. But Minis expands Snap’s work with third-party app makers to include a range of social experiences that aren’t just games. The apps are tailored around social experiences you can share while casually chatting with friends. All of the miniaturized apps will live in the app’s chat section, alongside Snapchat’s built-in games.
The inaugural group of Minis, which are expected to launch in Snapchat in July, includes:
Meditation app Headspace, which will allow users to access short guided meditation sessions
Coachella’s app, so groups of friends can view the festival’s lineup and plan which performances to watch
Prediction Master, an app from Mammoth Media, which also makes social polling app Wishbone, that allows friend groups to “make predictions”
Saturn And Tembo, apps for comparing class schedules and study prep, respectively
Atom, an app for buying movie tickets and watching trailers with a group of friends
Let’s Do It, a Snap-built app for “making group decisions”
“We really wanted to, with his initial slate, explore a bunch of different categories,” Snap’s Director of Product, Will Wu, told Engadget. “Almost as like an experiment to just to try to build new products, and try and see if we can make something that's creative and really does bring friends together.”
Snap isn’t the first company to look to outside developers to liven up its app, and Facebook has tried out a similar strategy in the past. The company allowed developers to create HTML5 versions of their games inside of Messenger, but eventually removed the feature as its messaging app had become too bloated.
Snap could have more success with Minis, though. The company says 25 million users have already played at least one game in the app. And the success of apps like Yolo, a No. 1 app that was built off of Snapchat, has proved the app’s most engaged users will flock to new experiences.
The expansion of Snap’s developer platform also extends to the tools it offers to app makers for their services. Snap said it plans to make more of its camera features available to third-party developers with CameraKit, software that enables outside apps to use Snapchat’s augmented reality lenses.
The MLB Ballpark app, for example, will be able to use Snapchat lenses to allow fans to interact with team mascots in AR. And music video app Triller, which already uses Snapchat Stories in its service, will add artist-themed lenses. Nike is also “exploring” ways to use AR lenses in its app, the company said. Snap didn’t say when these integrations would be available, but the company is working on bringing in additional developers.
Update 6/11 3:48pm ET: Added comment from Snap’s Director of Product, Will Wu.