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article imageSnapchat's new search bar makes it simpler to find friends

By James Walker     Jan 13, 2017 in Technology
Snapchat is rolling out an app update that adds a persistent search bar that lets you find friends, groups, publishers and stories. It's meant to simplify the Snapchat app and make it faster to navigate between sections and find specific content.
The search bar appears at the top of the screen on all of Snapchat's main views. It's universal and will find content from across Snapchat, ranging from your close friends, to publishers in the Discover tab and even Stories from people around you.
The search bar is meant to help streamline and unify Snapchat's interface. In the past, it has been often criticised for a layout that's confusing to newcomers. Until recently, it relied on hidden swipe gestures to navigate between views and access areas of content. Finding anything specific was difficult because of the complex navigation. Search will put an end to that by giving users a single destination to head to if lost.
Snapchat is aiming for speed with the new interface, according to TechCrunch. By reducing friction in the interface, it hopes users will keep taking snaps for longer between looking at others' content.
By keeping users engaged for longer periods, Snapchat can also attempt to defend itself against the rivals still desperate to break into its market. Recently, efforts from competitors have been rivaling Snapchat's own success. Instagram Stories has a similar number of users to Snapchat Stories, rocketing to 100 million unique viewers just two months after launch.
The improved search facilities could also aid the app's commercial users who use it as an important marketing tool. Businesses who promote their products on Snapchat will now find it easier to keep tabs on trending content and popular accounts, allowing them to more effectively target their Snaps.
Snapchat may be able to use the new search bar to expand on its income too. It could offer advertisers sponsored search results, create a feed of suggested material or give brands their own presence in the search bar. With the company headed towards an initial public offering this year, the prospect of additional money from a new interface control could be attractive.
Prior to today's overhaul, Snapchat's search experience was lacking in cohesion. Various panes had their own search bars but these only displayed results from one content area. Now everything has been pulled today, users will be able to rely on the centralised search bar as a single place to start conversations or find new content.
The search bar isn’t yet available to all Snapchat users. It's currently rolling out to a small number of Android users. The update will be released to all iOS and Android users soon. Snapchat hasn't announced specific details.
More about snapchat, Apps, Search, Social media
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