Social app Snapchat hopes its 100 million daily active users will give the thumbs up... to spending less time holding their thumbs on their smartphone screens to see photos and videos.
The company’s latest app update introduces a new “tap to view” control, which replaces the “press and hold” user interface that’s been used since Snapchat’s launch in 2011.
“Today marks a pretty big change for Snapchat — you no longer have to press and hold the screen to view a Snap or Story — instead, simply Tap to View,” explained Snapchat in a blog post announcing the new user interface.
“This means no more tired thumbs while watching a several-hundred-second Story… and a little getting used to for anyone who has been Snapchatting for a while.”
When Snapchat was just for sending photos and short video clips to friends, holding your thumb on the screen for the duration of viewing was rarely complained about.
As the app has expanded – particularly with its Discover section of video reports from partners like Vice, MTV and Cosmopolitan – so the video lengths have increased, leading to the controls change.
Snapchat’s latest updates includes another new feature that’s arguably just as significant for its users: the introduction of two-factor authentication when logging in to use the app.
“Once you enable it, bad guys will have a much harder time if they try to hack into your account,” claimed Snapchat, although some of the highest-profile security breaches in the company’s history have come from third-party apps that people use to log in to Snapchat, rather than the app itself.
Finally, Snapchat has added the option to add a photo to the middle of users’ Snapcodes – the scannable codes that can be exchanged with friends to follow one another in the app.
The update comes at a busy time for Snapchat, which was reportedly valued at $16bn when raising up to $650m in new funding earlier in 2015.
The company recently unveiled a new native-advertising agency in partnership with the Daily Mail and advertising group WPP, while it is also hiring journalists to cover the 2016 US presidential race within its app.
Chief executive Evan Spiegel has also been trying to explain himself to parents, with a YouTube video outlining his views on why their children are using Snapchat.
“Pictures are being used for talking. So when you see your children taking a zillion photos of things that you would never take a picture of, it’s cos they’re using photographs to talk,” he said.
Now, at least, all that talking won’t be tiring out their thumbs as much.
This article was written by Stuart Dredge, for theguardian.com on Thursday 2nd July 2015 08.39 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010