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Snapchat: Big changes rolling out to the service

The Achilles heel of Snapchat has always been its archaic UI and obnoxious functionality. And it seems even Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel agrees.

Back in May, the CEO hinted Snapchat would be undergoing some big changes, chief among them the way people view snaps. Rather than being forced to hold your finger down to view a snap or Story, Spiegel wanted content to be triggered by a single tap. And that’s exactly what’s coming in a new update. It’s a much more elegant solution to something that always seemed like a stopgap “feature.”

Snapchat hasn’t evolved all that much during its existence. Some big features have been introduced, such as Stories and Discovery, but, by and large, how we use it has remained the same. Press and hold, and content will play.

Conversely, although the update (rolling out Wednesday for iOS and Android) makes snaps easier to view, the change does have the potential to take away some of the platform’s intimacy. Snapchat stories and pictures have a way of seeming like they’re tailored just for you, and the fact that you had to keep your finger pressed down meant Snapchat had your undivided attention. Now that only a single tap is required, there’s a chance people might view snaps passively, rather than actively.

That’s not the only change coming to Snapchat. In an effort to spurn more user discovery, the platform is adding an “add nearby” feature, which lets you easily add anyone in your vicinity. The only caveat is that you need to be in the add nearby menu for people to see you; Snapchat doesn’t constantly scan or broadcast your location.

Additionally, the update will allow users to add others with a screenshot of a Snapchat QR code. Before, you had to scan someone’s QR code to add them, but now there’s an “add by Snapcode” option, making it much easier. Snapchat is also making it easy to customize your Snapchat QR code from inside the app, giving your specific QR code some personal flavor.

The update should be rolling out now for both iOS and Android.

TheVerge

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Brandon Russell

Brandon Russell enjoys writing about technology and entertainment. When he's not watching Back to the Future, you can find him on a hike or watching...Brandon Russell enjoys writing about technology and entertainment. When he's not watching Back to the Future, you can find him on a hike or watching...


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