Snapchat has launched ‘Stories’, letting users see rolling news-feeds from friends in the last 24 hours, as the popular photo sharing app looks to rival Facebook.
Watch this video showing how Snapchat stories works below:
Snapchat's popularity has risen sharply in recent years, particularly among young people, letting users send ‘self-destructing’ pictures to each other.
In June, Nielsen claimed that Snapchat had more than 8m monthly active users in the US across iOS and Android, but its survey only covered adults aged 18 and above.
Now, the firm is looking to capitalise on its fast growing audience with a Facebook-style newsfeed, in a bid to boost user engagement.
Snapchat Stories offers users the option to add their snaps to a mini-album that displays next to their username, creating rolling-news style montages built from snaps taken by users in the last 24 hours.
Unlike regular messages Stories can be viewed as many times as desired, with their content continually fluctuating. As soon as an image or video becomes more than a day old, it’s bumped from the list – and snaps aren’t added to users’ Stories automatically, so the app can still be used to share images privately with friends.
Announcing the new feature on their blog,Snapchat said: “Your Story never ends and it’s always changing. The end of your Story today is the beginning of your Story tomorrow. And each Snap in your Story includes a list of everyone who views it.”
The update will be rolling out on iOS and Android devices simultaneously, with several tweaks also made to the app's user interface (including an animated Ghostface Chillah – Snapchat’s mascot – who dances when users update their feed).
Snapchat is now installed on more than 18.6% of devices in the US, fast catching Twitter, according to research from Onavo. Snapchat was used by 18.6% of all iPhone owners in the US in June 2013, up 10.5% month-on-month, making it the ninth most popular iPhone app there in terms of usage.
Snapchat is still a long way behind Facebook (used by 72.5% of US iPhone owners) and Instagram (36.6%), but Twitter's 26.7% market share is within Snapchat's sights.
Snapchat's funding round in June valued the company at $800m, despite the fact that the free app has yet to make any revenues at all: it doesn't include ads or charge its users via in-app purchases, although it's expected to add the latter in the coming months.
The firm has recently dabbled in content partnerships with brands, such as MTV and Unilever’s Lynx, as the firm looks to capitalise on its popularity.