Snapchat gets a major update and loses its smiley face in the process

snapchats photoSnapchat is a genuine phenomenon, and the young app already reached milestones like weathering its first (dozen) scandals and seeing a meteoric rise in use: Over 150 million snaps are sent a day. More people are sharing photos on Snapchat than on Instagram; it’s a runaway success, scandals or no. So now it’s reaching another major milestone with its first substantial upgrade. If you updated Snapchat on your phone today, you must’ve noticed that the app is rocking some new features for its iOS version 5.0.

SnapchatThe update is being dubbed “Banquo,” and the first thing you’ll notice is the sleeker UI. You can now swipe from window to window, resulting in more intuitive navigation. And it’s easier than ever to instantaneously respond to someone’s picture. Once you open a message, you can double-tap on it to redirect back to the camera, so you can take a picture in response – it will go directly back to the other person. Now you won’t have to use the few seconds it used to take the navigate to a response window to consider if it’s really a wise idea to send a picture back at 4 a.m. on a Wednesday. Snapchat does give you one of those “are you sure you want to do this?” messages, though, so at least there’s still one step between you and automatic regret.

The prettier, smoother interface isn’t the only change. Now in-app profiles are drop-down style, so if you click on your friend, you’ll see their score and their “best friends.” You can also send snaps to friends directly from your address book, so if you’re scrolling through your contacts and you realize you haven’t sent a picture of yourself eating a cronut and rocking a double chin with the words “NOM NOM NOM” scribbled on it to your best friend today, you don’t have to take any extra steps Screen Shot 2013-06-06 at 11.02.38 AMto get on it immediately.

Plus, the whole thing is quicker. Snappier, if you will.

One more thing you might’ve noticed: In the new version, the wee ghost mascot doesn’t have a face anymore. Where did it go? Perhaps it has something to do with the name “Banquo” – it comes from “Macbeth.” Banquo is Macbeth’s buddy at the beginning of the play, but Macbeth has him murdered, and then Banquo’s ghost shows up at the end. It’s a creepy play, so maybe they wanted to make their mascot creepier for this version. I miss the little smile, though.

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