Snapchat’s ‘Memories’ Takes You Down Memory Lane

In compromising on its biggest selling point- ephemerality- has the app struck gold?

Snapchat’s ‘Memories’ Takes You Down Memory Lane

When Snapchat first came out in 2011, its biggest attraction for the teenage audience was that it promoted ‘in-the-moment’ photo sharing. The disappearing photos- Snapstories are only available for 24 hours after being posted- were a major hit with an age group which constantly created as well as demanded new content.

On Wednesday, Snapchat announced a new feature- Memories. With this, users will be able to save snaps for editing and posting later. No longer will you have to add captions, filter and emojis, and share your snap on the spot, thus missing out on a good chunk of the actual live action. Take a snap, save to Memories, and enjoy the moment in real time. Your photo won’t disappear.

You can now also share photos and videos captured outside the app via Snapchat, and the same editing options are open to them. Of course, Snapchat will distinguish between media captured using the app and those not, but it’s still much removed from the exclusive Snapchat-cam-only approach.

Why has Snapchat, whose standout quality was the ephemerality of its media, decided to shoot off on an apparent tangent?

Consider the timing of this new feature. In early June, ratings company comScore revealed that Snapchat’s user base in the USA was growing, as older millennials- aged 25-34, as well as older- were using the app in increasing numbers. The disappearing messages, then, became a conundrum for this age group, as they were used to having a gallery to view photos and videos after capturing them. I’m 20, and it confused me.

In order to push further into the mainstream, Snapchat needed to broaden its user base, and this meant gearing aspects of the app for the ‘olds’. Hence, Memories.

“Now what’s the difference between Snapchat and other messaging apps, if you can share old photos?” One might ask.

Answer: Snapchat is going to add a white border to photos older than 24 hours, which means that a timeline is created within a Snapstory, allowing both users and viewers to stay in the now. You’ll always know when a snap is recent, and this allows for the creation of a story that encompasses the past.

Additionally, the app will incorporate a SnapSearch feature within Memories. You can import previously-saved Snaps from your Snapchat camera roll. Snapchat will identify emojis, captions, locations, dates, and other relevant data in your photos, and save them as keywords that you can use to search Memories. Amazingly, with the help of augmented reality, the app can even identify objects in your photos- cats or bags or buildings- and use them to improve  Search.

Furthermore, there’s also a My Eyes Only space- for private content that you don’t want others catching a glimpse of. This space can be passcode-protected; just don’t lose the code, because not even Snapchat will be able to retrieve your data if you do.

“We realized that Snapchatters want to feel comfortable showing their Memories to friends while they’re hanging out together, so we made it easy to move Snaps and Stories to My Eyes Only — and avoid awkward moments when a friend stumbles upon a Snap meant just for you.” The company writes.

Memories is definitely a bit of a gamble- compromising on their biggest attraction, transience, is a risk. But since CEO Evan Spiegel intends to take the company public, they need to expand their user base far more than they already have, and that means taking risks. It will be interesting to see how Memories fares once the update becomes available, and where Snapchat will go from here.

Snapchat Memories begins rolling out on iOS and Android phones on the West Coast (USA). The goal is to make the update being globally available within 30 days.

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Tags : Snapchat