Snapchat has always seemed intentionally difficult to use. But once any good millennial figures out its quirks, the app can offer a whole world of magic. Now, that magic will be accessible to people of all ages and technological abilities, because the ghost-friendly app just announced it will add a search feature to its platform.
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Among other things, you'll now be able to start a chat with your friends via the search function. You'll also be able to find Discover stories from publishers — which Snapchat removed from the top of its interface in October — more easily. The new features are currently only available for select Android users, but the company says they will soon roll out to iOS users, too.
The latest update also introduces a feature called Our Story. Previously, you could submit your snaps to curated theme stories (Christmas Story, for example) or stories based on your location. With Our Story, you essentially give Snapchat the option to use your Snaps in whatever curated Live Story the company wants.
The addition of both the search feature and Our Story means the app is less private and elusive than it once was. The downside to making the app more user-friendly is that it loses some of the qualities that make it unique. Snapchat is fun because it's carefree and feels inconsequential. Who cares if your story is banal or stupid? It's difficult to find and disappears in 24 hours. The more accessible the app becomes, the faster it loses its cool, unique edge.
Last year, Facebook began taking inspiration from Snapchat, introducing copycat features on its own products, like Instagram stories. So as Snapchat prepares to go public at an estimated $US25 billion ($33 billion) valuation, it's understandable that the company would want to tweak the interface to appeal to a market beyond tech-savvy teens.
As Snapchat becomes easier for the olds to operate, the spry youths of the world mourn a little. Morgan, an 18-year-old from Florida, told Gizmodo, "After the invasion of 30 year old housewives to Facebook though any kind of intrusion from non-millennials is a scary thing. Just because it loses authenticity and grit."
While it remains unclear how much "grit" an app can truly have, this much is true: Nothing cool can last forever, and adults ruin everything.