Snapchat on Tuesday released a new way for organizing the vast number of photos and videos users share on the app and getting them in front of users likely to show interest.
Any user may now create an album to which multiple people can upload, a feature previously available to only Snap Inc. employees, contractors and automated software.
The change means attendees of a graduation party or a family on vacation together could have single hub for exchanging memories. The album gets automatically deleted — unless saved by the user — after a day goes by without a new upload.
Joining images together reduces the amount users must navigate around, which could make the chat app more appealing to less experienced Snapchat users. Tapping a title such as “Baby Nicole” may be a more natural entry point for some than clicking on a contact’s name — as is the more common method of organization on Snap — and not knowing what content you’ll find inside.
Before Tuesday, group albums on Snapchat were limited to prominent locations and events, and they were accessible to anyone.
The new user-created Custom Stories would at most be available to a users’ friends of friends. The creator could limit it further to just specified friends within a defined location of about a street block.
Snap spokeswoman Shannon Kelly said the Los Angeles company chose not to allow public uploads or consumption because Snapchat is primarily designed as a place for communicating with close friends and family.
A shared album is a feature familiar to users of photo-storage apps from Facebook, Google and Apple. Facebook, which competes with Snapchat maker Snap Inc. for ad revenue, especially has introduced several features in the last year to automatically get images sitting on people’s smartphones into the hands of those who probably want to see them.
Though Snapchat isn’t as much of a dumping ground for old photos as Facebook, the collaboration tool could give people more reason to take photos directly through Snapchat versus their smartphone’s camera app. That’s crucial for a company that, according to financial analysts, must convince users not to turn to Facebook or Instagram as their go-to camera.