Snapchat has always been incredibly confusing to use for new users. Following tanking numbers on the stock market and competition from Facebook and Instagram, Snap, the maker of Snapchat, is rolling out a major update to the app today.
The new redesign is supposed to get rid of all the confusion within the app, although Snap claims it’s to separate the “social form the media.” The company is splitting its Discover feature, which is fueled by content from independent content makers and publishers, from the Stories section. The new Snapchat will open up with the camera just like before, but swiping to the right will take you the Discover section. And swiping to the left will take you to your Friends, where you will now get to view stories from your friends or start new conversations.
Snapchat’s new design comes with a huge upgrade for its Stories feature, though. It will now surface stories from your friends using an algorithm which is smart enough to understand what type of content you are interested at certain times of the day, or which friends you might want to talk to. The main feed of Snapchat is no longer chronological, and as we have seen on services like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, social media feeds powered by algorithms are usually terrible. Just like every other company using similar tech, Snap says the new Snapchat Friends section will get better at understanding your habits and taste over time, so there’s that.
Here is Snap’s CEO, Evan Speigel, explaining the new Snapchat:
As a regular user of Snapchat, the new redesign actually makes things more confusing rather than simplifying the design. The new algorithmic feed for Stories means I will no longer get to see all the latest stories from my friends, and it could also change the way I actually interact with friends through chat as there will be random Stories from friends in between these conversations. Plus, I am not a huge believer in algorithmic timelines, most of which are infuriatingly bad at surfacing content I actually want to view and interact with.
Anyway, the new Snapchat redesign is rolling out for some users on Android and iOS, with everyone else set to receive it in the coming weeks.