Popular photo messaging app Snapchat has recently announced a new feature, taking the service away from its traditional roots and cementing its intentions to take on the ‘big boys’ of the social media world.
The feature, known as ‘Snapchat Memories’, was announced on the Snapchat Blog on Wednesday last week and will no doubt have taken both users and competitors by surprise as it is a feature that not many would associate with the service, which has been marketed as an “ephemeral” app that destroys images and videos once they have been viewed by users.
Users of the service can now use the feature to save both photos and videos to a section of the app for later viewing or other use. To save an image or video to the Memories section, a user simply clicks on the save button in the bottom left of the image screen, which will inform the user that the content has been saved to Memories. To access this section, the user simply swipes up from the camera screen.
Once the section has been activated by users, they can then search for specific content by searching through the section in chronological order, or by searching for certain keywords. The app will be able to recognise objects in certain images and videos, which will then bring up the search results. Users must understand though, that this is Snapchat and not Google, so it may not be the best and most up-to-date search they will have seen.
In a similar way to Facebook Memories and Timehop, users can repost older snaps, which will appear in a special frame that marks the photos and videos as past content.
The company has also devised a section of this for those special snaps that a user may want to keep, but keep hidden. This is to be known as the ‘My Eyes Only’ section and is secured with a passcode. It will not be able to be unlocked by Snapchat, so it is imperative that the code is remembered!
This is not the first time that the service has drifted away from its roots; it introduced its ‘Stories’ feature back in October 2013, which allows users to post a snap to be seen for up to 24 hours and as many times and desired by users. Despite not being a strictly “one time only” feature, it has proved to be a popular one with users.
The Memories feature is set to be rolled out “selectively” over the course of the next few weeks to users. This feature would see it move from a niche messaging service to a full-blown social media platform that will compete against the likes of Facebook and Instagram.
The company was the subject of a $3bn (£1.9bn) bid from rival service Facebook back in 2013, but this was declined. Since then, the app has gone from strength to strength and has now accrued over 100 million worldwide users in its four years of existence.