Snapchat users were waking up to a new look in the app today thanks to a much-mooted update that introduces a search bar to the photo and video messaging service for the first time.
iOS and Android users will now be able to jump into a search from any screen within the app.
They will be able to find existing contacts as well as other users already in their phone’s contacts book or they can search by username to find publishers.
The new search bar can also be used to jump into a conversation with friends via a Quick Chat feature.
The update is part of Snapchat’s plans to make the app easier to navigate and better to use at a time it’s being increasingly squeezed by Facebook and its family of apps.
Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram have all had updates in recent months adding or boosting features that tread on Snapchat’s toes.
Instagram’s introduction of its own Stories feature is perhaps the most notable though.
The introduction of search to Snapchat also gives the platform the chance to make more money. There’s no confirmation yet but there have been suggestions Snapchat will allow sponsored placement at the top of search results or as follow suggestions within the app, as businesses look to build their Snapchat audiences.
The app remains hugely popular among younger smartphone users, particularly those in their teens and early twenties – a highly lucrative market to any brand out there.
Snapchat claims it has 150 million daily users although Instagram says its Stories feature is already hitting that number, too.
It means Snapchat needs to up its game once again to show it remains one of the bigger fish in the social media pond and can draw in new revenue – the new universal search is designed to show just that.