At long last, Snapchat is updating the tool that continues to confuse or put off users of its service. We’re talking about its search mechanism, which — for most — remains scattered in various sections of the app.
Users that struggle with the discovery process on Snapchat should welcome the launch of a universal search bar. We’ve all read about all the weird and wonderful snaps and stories being uploaded to Snapchat by its 150 million users — not to mention its devoted celeb fanbase — but some users simply can’t seem to find it. That is why the web is littered with articles on Snapchat celebrity usernames and “how-to” guides on adding new users.
Starting on Thursday, Snapchat will put an end to its search debacle by launching a universal search bar that puts all of its awesome content at your fingertips, reports TechCrunch. Well, kind of, anyway. The move will see Snapchat ditch its variety of search bars for one all-encompassing search tool.
At launch, the search bar is rolling out to select users on Android, with plans to make it available to all iOS and Android users soon. To access the tool, all you have to do is tap the new Bitmoji icon on the top left of the display. This will automatically take you to your own profile screen where you can jump into quick chats with friends and groups. Each of your contacts will be assigned their own card — tapping and holding someone’s profile card will let you view their mini profile. Story thumbnails will also be accessible, allowing you to watch a friend’s recent Story. The search bar itself will allow you to find accounts, daily editions of Discover media channels, and specific Our Stories (essentially a group Story made up of snaps from multiple users at the same event).
Although the app still lacks an Explore or curated trends section like its counterparts Twitter and Instagram, the universal search bar will at least make the act of discovery a bit easier. However, that does mean you will still have to do a bit of research in order to find random users you wish to follow. For now, Snapchat is intent on making you work for the good stuff.
Additionally, the app is expanding its Our Story feature to allow users to submit snaps from any place at any time. Snapchat will then curate the content based on submission trends.
The updates are arriving in the wake of its rival Instagram’s move to monetize its own Stories feature with ads. It’s easy to see Snapchat’s new search bar appealing to brands and businesses that want to make it easier for users to connect with them on the app. There will certainly be a lot of pressure on Snapchat’s parent company Snap to offer more discovery and curation tools — two factors that many view as a crippling setback to its adoption rate among users outside of its main, young millennial demographic — as its expected IPO approaches.
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