Snapchat Discover, Stories, QR: Review

BreakingModern — Last week Snapchat introduced Discover, a new way to explore what Snapchat is calling Stories, from a selection of brands. Stories are available just a click away from your Snapchat home screen. Simply tap on an icon to discover something new. If you like it, swipe up to see more detail, or swipe left to see the next item from that brand. Don’t like what you see? Swipe down to close the article and go back to the main Discover screen.

You’ll find a combination of images, videos and articles curated by editorial teams based on what is hot today. And when you visit Discover tomorrow, you’ll find a completely new selection of material — in keeping with Snapchat’s ephemeral messaging platform, the Discover content will disappear at the end of each day.

Discover snapchat

Curated Branding

In addition to Snapchat’s own Discover channel, the featured brands currently include CNN, Comedy Central, Cosmo, Daily Mail, ESPN, Food Network, National Geographic, People, Vice, Yahoo! News and Warner Music Group. These editorial teams aren’t wasting any time getting creative with this new feature. This week, CNN used Snapchat to interview possible 2016 presidential candidate, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, snagging the honor of the first ever Snapchat interview with a U.S. lawmaker. Additionally, Discover’s integration of ads and sponsored content appears to be Snapchat’s first real effort to make money with the free app. Forbes reported that Discover’s media partners will be sharing ad revenue with Snapchat.

Getting Snappy with Rand Paul snapchat discover

In its blog post introducing Discover, Snapchat describes how it’s trying to differentiate itself from other social sharing platforms:

“Discover is different because it has been built for creatives. All too often, artists are forced to accommodate new technologies in order to distribute their work. This time we built the technology to serve the art: each edition includes full screen photos and videos, awesome long form layouts, and gorgeous advertising.”

Some of those creatives aren’t wasting any time getting started. “SnapperHero,” a new series by Astronauts Wanted and Fullscreen, Inc. in partnership with AT&T, Inc. will be available exclusively on Snapchat early this year. SnapperHero will feature YouTube and Vine personalities playing superheroes in 100- to 200-second videos, with each episode only available to view for a specific period of time.

Freddie Wong snapchat discover snapperhero

Courtesy of Freddie Wong

Contact Changes

The update also brought some big changes to Snapchat contacts. To add friends on Snapchat, you previously had to click through a few screens and type in their (often complicated) screen name. With the new update, each user has their own version of the Snapchat ghost logo that serves as a QR code called a Snaptag. If you want to add a new contact, now you can point your Snapchat camera at their Snaptag and add them with one click. For users with massive followings on other social networks looking to bring them over to follow their Snapchat Stories, this update makes things much easier.

My Snaptag

Not everyone is happy with the changes to contacts, though. Snapchat’s “best friends” feature was eliminated, causing an uproar among many users. This feature allowed a Snapchat user to view the top three friends for each of their contacts — a quick way to see who each of your friends sends snaps to most frequently. In responding to the furor, Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel said the feature was eliminated because “a few higher-profile friends wanted to keep their usernames private,” though he did promise it would come back in a new format.

Snapchat Best Friends

Courtesy of ADTR Tomm

With users sending upward of 700 million photos and videos each day, and Stories being viewed more than 500 million times per day, I think that whatever Spiegel does next, it’s safe to say that people will be watching.

For BMod, I’m .

Featured image: © giorgiomtb / Dollar Photo Club

All screenshots: Becket Morgan

Becket Morgan

Author: Becket Morgan

Based in central Vermont, Becket Morgan covers apps and lifestyle tech for BreakingModern. Follow her at @becketmorgan on Twitter or +Becket Morgan on G+.

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