Snap Inc. has recently caused worldwide speculation and commentary with the public release of its newest Snapchat update.
The update contains an almost completely reconfigured system, removing and replacing some of the traditional designs the app has featured for over a decade. Stories are no longer ordered chronologically; they are now ranked based on interactions users make on their personal account.
Additionally, the option to replay a story immediately after viewing has been removed. Now, in order to watch a specific story, the user will use the newly redesigned search bar to individually curtail the stories they view.
The main “story” feature of the app has been replaced with a larger “discovery” option, which shows users featured stories from celebrities and media pages.
A new “friends” section contains the ability to direct message, send snaps to your best friends and group message. To manage your own stories, you must click on the main Snapchat logo.
Despite a massive overhaul, Snap Inc. has yet to see many positive reactions from either public or tech reviews.
The update was released widespread across the United Kingdom earlier in the week, and it almost immediately received outcry on other platforms. Twitter users have been particularly negative.
One particular tweet reading, “PSA: Do NOT update your Snapchat and if it hasn’t updated yet, go to your settings and turn off automatic updates for apps!” has surpassed 20,900 retweets. Several users complained they were considering deleting the app, and according to Engadget, a gaming and technology review site, almost all vocal Twitter receptions were negative.
Technology reviews at Engadget indicate that the drastic changes may have been made intentionally. Last August, Snap Inc. publicly admitted its shortcomings in its second-ever quarterly earnings report.
The company has consistently struggled with growing followers (just 4 percent quarterly), despite adding new features, lenses, custom stories and even the Snap Map. Despite earning about $181 million in 2017, it reported losses of about $193 million after taxes.
Rival companies like Instagram and Facebook have mimicked the disposable, personal interactive feature of stories over the past year, but according to Snap Inc. CEO Evan Spiegel, Snapchatters visit the app twice as much. The company also admitted they struggled to appease their Android basis.
So far, the response to the major overhaul has been primarily negative, but the Engadget review leans towards the positives.
Despite a largely confused audience, the company is still expected to draw more than a 72 percent increase in quarterly earnings due to new augmented reality features, the popularity of new sports content and exclusive features from media networks, makeup artists, YouTubers and celebrities.