In certain parts of the world (the United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada) Snapchat has already rolled out a redesigned, easier-to-use version of its app, and so far, the folks in places with the new app have not been particularly happy with the changes. (Snap’s Twitter mentions are full of people begging for the old version back.) Today, the company is changing something else for those users — except this one people might actually like. Starting on Tuesday, users with the new version of the app will be able to share Snapchat content with friends outside of the app.
The new feature works with Official Stories in Snapchat’s Discover section, as well as Our Stories (Snap’s curated public stories featuring content from users) and Search Stores (stories you can find by searching a keyword like “puppies”). Users will be able to text, email, and post Snap Stories to other platforms, including Twitter and YouTube. If somebody texts you a Snap Story they think you just have to see — remember that time those two crazy kids fell in “love” via Snapchat — you’ll be sent a link that will open in your browser and play the story on snapchat.com. (Shares on Twitter will have in-line playback and Facebook shares will show a preview of the video.)
Because Snapchat is still Snapchat, content shared off the app will have a shelf life. Our Stories and Search Stories will last 30 days, while Official Stories will last only 24 hours. Off-app Stories won’t, as of now, have ads. (But that’s how this business operates so enjoy that perk while you can.) To share a story, press and hold on a particular story’s tile. You’ll be presented with a “share” option. Tap it and send or post how you’d like.
This feature marks a big shift for Snapchat, the walled-off platform that was once so private — “private” — your mom probably assumed you were using it to send nudes. Snap’s thing has always been that it operates independently of the platform world around it. Unlike a Facebook, or a Twitter, or an Instagram, there really was no good way to share Snapchat content. There were grainy screenshots, sure, and the addition of easy screen recording in iOS 11 helped some, but for the most part if you wanted to see something on Snapchat you had to open up the app. Which was sometimes good for Snapchat — teens remained loyal even when Instagram started aping Snap’s every move — but also meant it was harder to convince some people — mostly people who were not teens — that Snap’s content was worth downloading the app. Which is probably what Snapchat is hoping this new feature will accomplish. They have to fix those, uh, let’s say not great user numbers somehow. (Plus there’s that whole we lost $39.9 million because we goofed on estimating how many people would actually want to buy our smart glasses thing.)