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30 November 2017, 02:07 | Gina Pena
Snap CEO Evan Spiegel slams social media – and says Snapchat isn't social media
The update is expected to begin rolling out this Friday. And it puts all premium publishers, pro social media stars you follow, and aggregated stories from search and Snap Map in the Discover section to the right of the camera, curated by humans, and sorted by your past viewing behavior. This changes how most of the content is shown to users and also includes some new features.
The update is being introduced first to a small portion of Snapchat's user base later this week, with wider availability in the coming weeks. The app's most basic functionalities - taking and sending a Snap or finding friends - hasn't really changed.
Spiegel has taken pains since going public to present his strategy as unique and not directly comparable to Facebook, which has seven times as many users and has copied some of Snapchat's most-popular features.
"To the left, there will be "Friends" page where users will see their friends" Stories and Bitmojis, as well their chats with them.
Previously, content from friends mingled and competed with professional content in one pane on the right.
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"Today we're making Snapchat more personal", CEO Evan Spiegelsaid in a video posted to the Snap blog addressing the changes. Everything within the app technically works but trying to navigate it has always been something of a pain.
Snap executives hope the reorganization will lead to more conversations between close groups of friends. The most drastic change to the design of Snapchat is where users will find their friends and where they'll find the media, or the "discover" content.
Snapchat has attracted loyal fans - including young people - because it's different, and the innovative Spiegel is better than nearly everyone at giving users unique products and features. It revives auto-advance, ditching the misguided Story playlists, so you can watch everyone's Stories in a row, but with best friends not people who post the most first. When you swipe left, you see a list of all your friends, and tapping one will let you send text messages (or Snaps). It's not too different from the Snapchat you already know, but it does signal a lot of the more philosophical differences that define the company. You can either tap the screen to watch it or swipe it away to return to your chats. Snapchat has reintroduced autoplaying Stories after it killed the feature past year.
The move could have negative consequences for publishers, who are accustomed to their stories appearing in a central feed alongside stories from users' friends, likely generating more views as a result. To the left, users will find the content from their friends and family, including their ephemeral Stories.
"My optimistic side likes to think that the past three quarters since Snap's IPO are helping to set expectations regarding reasonable growth rates for new advertising-driven businesses - expectations that have been thrown for a loop due to Facebook's unprecedented success", Forrester analyst Melissa Parrish recently told Digital News Daily.
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