For an app known best for sending disappearing photos back and forth, Snapchat is practically bursting with features. The problem is that you have to be a Snapchat super fan and/or Jedi Knight to find them all.
Snapchat made some product announcements at the Snap Partner Summit that should hopefully change that. First and foremost, it’s bulking up the navigation bar at the bottom of the app, called the Activity Bar, to make it easier to get to the Snap Map and Snap Content (like stories from creators and Snap Originals shows). The tabs in the bar will also change depending on what portion of the app you’re in.
Going from three tabs to five is a huge improvement for the maps and content features, which both required some not-so-intuitive maneuvering to access. Those two features also happen to be big business growth areas for the company.
Before today’s announcement, you could get to Maps either by clicking on the location of a friend (if they chose to share it) in their icon, or by pinching the camera screen, and then pulling down (you can also access the Map in a browser). Snap says that 200 million Snapchatters use Maps every month, and making it easier to find just makes sense.
However, the change is likely also motivated by the fact that Snap also announced that Maps would be getting a new addition: businesses. Snap announced the launch of Places, meaning that businesses would literally be able to put themselves on the map. They can feature content, provide information like hours, and showcase reviews from TripAdvisor and Foursquare.
Restaurants can even let users place orders by tapping through the map location to Postmates, DoorDash, and Uber Eats. How Snap will be monetizing that isn’t clear yet, but if Instagram is any indication, more businesses on your platform means more money.
Snap also appears to be breaking up the Discover tab into two different tabs. One tab, called “Stories,” will house your friends’ stories, your subscriptions, and the For You section of curated content.
The other tab is the new Discover section, which also features your subscriptions, a new short-form news product called “Happening Now,” as well as “trending” and “popular” content. This appears to give more real estate to Snap Originals and partner content. The move makes sense: Snap has made huge investments in original content, which you could previously access if you happened to notice a small gray line of text, at the top of the For You section, that read “Swipe for Shows.”
Getting to Snap features like games, making full use of Snapchat photo editing, and accessing all of the lenses, still requires some pretty deep familiarity with the app. Luckily, Mashable’s got a handy guide to help you with the Snapchat secret menu.
That spiffy new Activity Bar should help, too.