According to Insider Intelligence, Snapchat is one of the most used apps among zoomers or Gen Z users. There are even older generations that have begun using the app as a way to connect with their family and find entertainment.
Unlike Instagram and Facebook, Snapchat is all about privacy and consent. Anything you send can get deleted, and you’ll be notified if it’s saved. You can also share things publicly via stories.
Here’s everything you need to know about the history of Snapchat and how it grew to what it is today.
What is Snapchat?
Snapchat is a mobile app that functions as a cross between a social media network and an instant messaging platform. What it’s most known for is the ability to send “self-destructing” or temporary photos.
Anything you send can be deleted automatically upon viewing. You can lengthen your time to view and share messages and photos for up to 24 hours. Alternatively, there’s an option to save a message inside the chat.
You can apply all kinds of Snapchat filters to your photos and videos to create fun messages and clips. It’s up to you whether or not you want to share media the same way you would on other social media apps or keep it private with a friend.
Snapchat will send you a notification if someone tries to screen record, screenshot, or otherwise save what you’ve sent. While this won’t stop someone from stealing your photo, it at least lets you know that they have done so. Disconnecting from the internet will not stop the notification.
Saving Snapchat videos for your own personal use is easy enough, as there is a dedicated save button when you record or take photos. However, saving someone else’s video will require screen recording technology.
History of Snapchat
Although Snapchat is currently based in Santa Monica, California, the concept first began at Stanford University. Snapchat history goes all the way back to 2011, which makes it almost twelve years old.
Creation and Rebranding of Picaboo
Initially, co-founders Spiegel and Murphy created Picaboo in the spring of that year. Snapchat wouldn’t gain its official name until September 2011.
Picaboo was intended to be an app that let you send photos that disappear after a certain amount of time. It launched in July on the iOS App Store but gained no attention.
One of the biggest problems it faced was screenshotting, so they built in a notification system. They also added the ability to caption photos and updated their marketing schemes.
Introduction to Android and Video Update
In late 2012, Snapchat made the big move to Android devices. Not only was this a great opportunity to add more users, but it resulted in a lot more demand for new features.
It wouldn’t be long before the founders of Snapchat introduced video to the app. Now, users could record and send 10-second videos that would automatically erase themselves like the photos beforehand.
The best part was how intuitive the update was. All you needed to do was hold down the capture button to start recording a video.
Stories and Chat
Stories were launched in October 2013. Nowadays, you can see them on most social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and even Tiktok. However, Snapchat was one of the first to utilize the feature.
Users could post multiple photos and videos to their stories for all of their friends to view for a limited amount of time. The main benefit was that you didn’t have to click on multiple people to send a single image. Everyone who followed you could see them.
In May 2014, Snapchat introduced chat to make the app more social. Like with photos and videos, any message users sent would disappear after 24 hours.
Discover and Lenses
The beginning of 2015 saw Snapchat introduced Discover, which was a page that featured short-form ads. Publishers could share their various posts with people who didn’t follow them.
Tap to View was also integrated into the app. Previously, users had to hold their fingers on the screen to view snaps. As the name implied, they could now tap to view media sent to them.
One of the most memorable and noteworthy features introduced to Snapchat was Lenses. These are the filters that most people nowadays use to alter their appearances or add special effects to their photos and videos.
Snapchat rolled out Memories in mid-2016. This allowed users to save content onto their devices for the first time and potentially share it elsewhere.
It was also this year that other companies started rolling out their own versions of Stories and Lenses.
Users saw Snapchat’s first major redesign release in late 2017. However, it received a big backlash from both brands and users.
One of the reasons people disliked the changes was that it was not optional. They’d gotten used to a certain kind of UI and functionality.
Users also disliked how the update separated social posts from media. The stories page was combined with incoming snaps. Additionally, the Discover page now showed both featured and sponsored content.
It resulted in a massive loss of revenue for Snapchat, and they eventually began to roll back some of their changes.
In 2022, Snapchat Plus was released. This is a paid subscription model that gives users early access to certain features for $3.99 per month. With it, you gain access to things like custom app icons, a friend solar system, and a story rewatch indicator.
Future of Snapchat
The founders of Snapchat have plans to expand their revenue throughout the rest of 2023. Part of their plan is to onboard more older users and integrate more augmented reality features.
They’re currently working on their next Spectacles AR glasses and monetizing their capabilities.
Although the history of Snapchat goes all the way back to 2011, it still continues to be one of the most popular apps around. Although it’s technically a messaging app, it also functions as a reliable and safe social media network. You can expect to continue to see its influence for years to come.
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