Snapchat Updates- Covering All Snapchat Features from Its Origin
In this blog, we are taking you through all Snapchat features that have been added to the app since its origin. Additionally, we will continuously update this blog so keep revisiting it to review new changes being made to your favorite messenger app.
Updated on March 14, 2023
Snapchat, a top social network platform that started its journey in 2011 has built a userbase of millions of people from all over the world. A Statista report mentions that in 2022, this one of the top social media platforms had approximately 492.7 million monthly active users worldwide with these numbers to rise up to 531.1 million monthly active users by 2025.
Snapchat’s success is credited to its unique approach of offering security and privacy to its users by restricting the way messages and stories were exchanged. From applying an automated message disappearing feature to setting a time restriction on snaps, there were many reasons why users felt safer using Snapchat, one of the top messaging apps, to communicate.
The history of Snapchat- from origin to present
Now, to understand Snapchat better, it is crucial to dig deeper into its history and understand every phase of this top social media app from its origin. So, now, we will list down every single update made to this one of the top private chat apps. Stay with us until the end to have some cool insights into the Snapchat features from the beginning.
1. 2022- Enhanced focus on realism
Snapchat for Web was the major announcement this year. The update allowed users to access Snapchat features across laptops and desktops as well.
The latest Snapchat update brought Dress Up feature into existence which allowed users to try the AR version of products they could buy from various brands. These AR products were available in Lenses for users to explore and try them.
Snapchat introduced AR Image Processing which allowed businesses to transform already existing product photos into turnkey AR-ready assets for Snapchat Try-on lenses. This allowed Snapchat users to try a range of products by taking full-body selfies and choosing lenses according to the products they want to try.
Snap's 3D Asset Manager makes requesting, approving, and optimizing 3D models easier for any product in the shopping catalog of their businesses.
Snapchat announced support for Catalog Powered Shopping Lenses which allowed brands to combine AR lenses and product catalogs to provide users with more brand-specific try-on options. Users could now try products from the catalog while also seeing additional information such as the price of the product they are trying on the same screen.
Lens Cloud, a collection of backend services to power AR features, was introduced. The feature focused on offering a more interactive and dynamic experience to users.
For Snapchatters in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Austin, San Francisco, Seattle, Philadelphia, D.C., Denver, Atlanta, and London among others, The Infatuation feature was launched to list and approve restaurants on the Snap Map. Users could find Infatuation approved restaurants in over 50 cities around the world.
Snapchat+ was introduced for $3.99/- per month with exclusive, pre-release, and experimental features.
The Director Mode was the latest Snapchat update introduced in 2022 to help users in creating more sophisticated video content.
Dynamic Stories were introduced to publish the latest news in real-time by using partners’ RSS feeds to generate stories.
With a partnership with SignAll, the ASL Alphabet Lens was released on Snapchat. The goal was to inspire Snapchat users to learn ASL.
The mid-roll advertisements in Snap Star Stories were introduced. Snapchat decided to show ads between stories of content creators and in return, pay these creators certain revenues for displaying ads.
Bitmoji Reactions were introduced so Snapchat users could use them to express emotions in chats.
Ticketmaster Layer was introduced in the Snap Map to list all nearby events on the app.
Custom Landmarkers or Custom Location Creator Lens allowed users to use LiDAR-enabled phones to create custom locations on permanent structures by scanning them and adding the location label.
2. 2021- Connecting brands and customers
TrueSize was an important feature added this year. The feature allowed putting 3D objects into the real world with the accuracy of the size using LiDAR capabilities.
For better Snap Map personalization, Memories and Explore layers were added. These layers allowed users to explore memories marked on Snap Map according to the locations where these memories happened.
Another top update on Snapchat was Public Profiles. These profiles allowed brands to connect with their customers using AR Lenses, Public Stories, Links, and more.
Connected Lenses allowed transferring of data between devices using the same lens to connect with each other.
3D Body Tracking allowed attacking 2D or 3D contents on a 3D skeleton using the camera. The camera scans the models to identify joints and apply 3D Body Tracking components over them.
Food Scan was introduced so users could use the Snapchat camera to scan any food item to get information like ingredients, recipes, etc.
Quick Tap to Snap is a Google Pixel exclusive feature that allowed taking and sharing snaps from the locked screen of the phone itself. Users had to double-tap the back of the phone to access Snapchat from the lock screen.
Snapchat Spectacle v4 was announced but only for developers and content creators. These spectacles were capable of projecting 3D images.
Snapchat’s new version introduced a collaborative platform for Content creators and brands called Creator Marketplace. The platform was equipped with tools to make collaborations smoother between all parties.
Snapchat Trends were introduced to highlight popular keywords used in Snapchat stories for marketers and content creators.
Under Creative Kit, Snapchat stickers were introduced for users to decorate their snaps.
Story Studio was introduced with features like trimming stories, splitting videos, timing tools, etc. The feature also supported adding sounds, layers, and captions into stories.
Gifts were introduced so Snapchat users could show their favorite content creators support and love by sending them Gifts. These gifts can be cashed out by creators once they hit the minimum limit for cashing out.
Snapchat's new update allowed users to participate in Spotlight Challenges based on Lenses, Sounds, or #Topics to win rewards like cash prizes. Creators could create top-performing Spotlight content and win the challenge to get rewards.
3. 2020- Spotlighting the talents
Snapchat introduced Spotlight to highlight creative content on the basis of quality standards.
Camera Kit SDK was introduced which allowed developers to leverage Snapchat’s AR features in their mobile apps to offer AR experiences to their app users.
Snap Minis were lightweight apps built on HTML to execute additional tasks on Snapchat itself. These tasks could be Flashcards, small games, etc.
Sounds were introduced so Snapchat users could add licensed music to their snaps and stories. These sounds could also be customized song clips recorded by users themselves.
Music Lenses, as the name gives it away, were Snapchat filters with specific music tagged into them.
Happening Now feature allowed Snapchat users to review what’s going on in the world.
Local Lenses allowed Snapchat users to scan and create additions to real locations like shops or streets. Once contributed, these changes will be visible to other Snapchat users as well whenever they visit the location and scan areas themselves.
Snap ML allowed users to add ML capabilities to Lens Studio and Lenses to create more personalized lenses with better quality and accuracy levels.
Snap Action bar introduced tappable icons for the Camera, Chat, Stories, Discover, and Snap Map among others.
Lens Voice Scan allowed Snapchat users to tap the microphone and request specific lens requests like “Make my hair pink”.
Dynamic Lenses were introduced. These lenses could be modified by making changes to their scripts.
Bitmoji for Games SDK was the latest update in Snapchat which allowed users to connect their 3D avatars to games of their choice.
Here for You was the latest Snapchat latest version update. This feature provided users with necessary safety resources to assist them with certain topics like self-harm, suicidal thoughts, grief, anxiety, etc.
4 . 2019- Making users stars of stories
In January, Snapchat introduced end-to-end encryption for Snaps.
Lego introduced an exclusive clothing line on Snapchat for users from countries like the US, the UK, Germany, and France.
Snapchat announced Snap Games at the Snap Partner Summit in Los Angeles. The platform had six games initially. These games were multiplayer and designed to Snapchat friends could enjoy them together.
Creative Kit was another top update in Snapchat added in 2019 which allowed users to share AR Experiences, Filters, GIFs, videos, links, lenses, website/app captions, etc.
Spectacles v3 was released with support for 3D and AR features. These spectacles also came with USB type C support and a Google Cardboard-styled VR viewer.
Cameos allowed users to become a part of scenes of their choice by taking a selfie from the Cameo feature. The feature also supported creating Cameos with a Snapchat friend of your choice.
AR Bar was introduced with special lenses that included AR capabilities. These lenses were editable as well.
Bitmoji Stories became a part of the Discover page and allowed users to co-star with friends of their choice in these stories.
Bitmoji TV, a personalized cartoon show was announced. The feature introduced shorts and comedy animations that starred Bitmoji of the Snapchat users watching them. Bitmoji TV was added to the Discover page of the app.
Creator Profiles were the latest changes to Snapchat done to assist content creators on the app. These creators could create the content for the Discover page Snapchat.
Landmarkers were customizable experiences that could be created for specific landmarks. Users could create 3D experiences focused on these specific Landmarkers.
5. 2018- Features to celebrate friendships
Snapchat Discover, a news feed-like feature, was brought into existence by developers this year. Here Snapchat users could explore public stories, status updates of friends, news they have subscribed to, and more.
Lens Explorer, as the name suggests, allowed users to explore a range of Snapchat lenses to have fun with.
Snap Kit was introduced for developers. The feature allowed them to integrate Snap features like Stories, Bitmoji, and more on their platform, and developers could also support sharing their app’s content with Snapchat users. However, Snapchat reviewed these platforms first before letting them integrate Snapchat’s features into their platforms.
Snap Originals were introduced in 2018 as well. These personalized comedy sketches made Snapchat users and their best friends on Snapchat lead actors in funny scenes.
Lens Challenges were created by Snapchat users themselves where they could create filters with challenges to share with their friends or with the world.
The Group Video Chat feature was introduced on the Snapchat app to let multiple people join video conversations over the platform.
Snapabbles were AR games that used camera and face detection technology to animate the face features of users to make them part of the game.
Snapchat Spectacles v2 was launched with options like No yellow ring, underwater capability, prescription support, faster syncing, etc.
Visual Search supported scanning products or bar codes with the help of Snapchat cameras to find them across marketplaces like Amazon.
Friendship Profile was introduced where Snapchat users could connect and review media files exchanged outside snaps, messages saved, etc.
6. 2017- Personalization was the main goal
Snapchat Pixels were introduced to personalize ads being shown to Snapchat users better.
Snap Map feature also came into existence this year so Snapchat users could share their location with friends. Snapchat Maps also supported the Bitmoji feature to display users’ locations.
Lens Studio was introduced as well so users could create their own lenses without much hassle.
Story ads came into existence to show Snapchat users targeted ads on their Discover page.
Snap Publisher feature allowed ad creators to customize their ads better and generate multiple variations of these ads so they can compare and identify the best-performing ad. The feature also allowed pulling assets directly from the websites of brands creating ads.
Custom stories allowed Snapchat users to create geofenced stories with selected friends for events of their choice.
Users could now review Context Cards of snaps to learn information like reviews from critics and customers, directions to the venue, operating hours, phone numbers, restaurant reservations, and more.
Voice Filters allowed users to manipulate the way voices sound in videos they are uploading or sending to other Snapchat users.
World Lenses could create a virtual interaction between 3D objects and the real-world environment by using the primary camera of the phone. The feature could map and detect the environment around the Snapchat user easily.
7. 2016- Geofilters became a thing
The year brought many new features for the app like on-demand Geofilters that allowed users to create customized Geofilters for occasions.
Another top feature allowed users to automatically land on the next story once one is over.
In April, Bloomberg reported that Snapchat videos were generating 10 billion views every day.
Later in June, Snapchat recorded over 150 million Daily Active Users (DAUs).
Snapchat introduced ads in between stories that users would see while exploring the status updates of friends.
Memories was the newest Snapchat update that came into existence in July. The update allowed users to save the content so they can edit and republish it later.
A collaboration with Bitstrips to bring Bitmojis into existence was also introduced.
Snapchat became Snap Inc. this year as well, a parent company of Snapchat and Spectacles. Spectacles allowed wearers to record snaps in 360-degree viewing.
Snapchat Playlist was also introduced which allowed users to select a few friends to play their stories automatically instead of playing everyone’s stories.
The last feature introduced in 2016 was Group Messaging which allowed users to send snaps to multiple people at once.
8. 2015- Snapchat focused on ads this year
By 2015, Snapchat had 75 million users across the world. To monetize the platform further, Snapchat introduced Discover for the short-form ad content on the feed.
Another feature Touch to View enabled users to tap to view snaps instead of having to hold snaps to view them like earlier.
In June, brands that wanted to target specific locations for advertisements got the option of Sponsored Geofilters so they could show ads in their target locations only.
In September, everyone’s favorite feature Lenses was released to make selfies more creative.
By the end of the year, Snapchat users were watching 6 billion videos a day.
9. 2014- Now Snapchatters could text each other
In May month of 2014, Chat was introduced in Snapchat's latest version update. This feature offered the ability to see when your friend is online in the inbox so you can instantly share snaps or start video calls.
In June, a public feed called Our Story was introduced which allowed users to share their snaps publicly so other Snapchat users can find and see them.
In July, Snapchat focused on Geofilters that allowed users to add filters to their snaps according to the city they were capturing snaps from.
Snapchat advertising became the newest Snapchat update added in October on the platform. Users could see ads in their Recent Updates section and had the ability to skip them if they wanted. These ads usually stayed for 24 hours like stories.
In November, Snapchat introduced Snapcash which allowed users to transfer real money from one bank account to another.
The social media app also added Community Geofilters which users could create themselves or they could also purchase these Geofilters for their preferred events or businesses.
10. 2013- The beginning of Stories
The newest Snapchat update released in 2013 was Stories which allowed users to put stories to share with all their friends for 24 hours. These stories are like status updates one can upload on their Snapchat profile for their connections to see.
11. 2012- Onboarding the world of Android
The year was quite crucial for the Android userbase of Snapchat as in October, developers of Snapchat released the app for Android users as well. By this time, users were sending 25 snaps per second.
Users were also introduced to the video feature that could be recorded just by holding down the capture button. The video feature allowed users to transfer video content of up to 10 seconds.
12. 2011- The era of Snapchat’s origin
Evan Spiegel, Bobby Murphy, and Reggie Brown, former students of Stanford University, launched the Snapchat app Picaboo on July 08, 2011.
However, after Reggie Brown was ousted from the company, Snapchat was relaunched with the new name Snapchat in September 2011.
The newest Snapchat update released with the relaunch also ensured that users receive notifications if any of the images they sent have been screenshotted by the receiver.
Aparna Growth Strategist
Aparna is a growth specialist with handsful knowledge in business development. She values marketing as key a driver for sales, keeping up with the latest in the Mobile App industry. Her getting things done attitude makes her a magnet for the trickiest of tasks. In free times, which are few and far between, you can catch up with her at a game of Fussball.
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