Snapchat, the startup that built its reputation on self-destructing photo and video messages, now wants to let you make media that lasts … at least for a day.
Last night, the company unveiled “Stories,” a new feature in its iOS and Android apps that lets you create an ephemeral timeline of content that evaporates within 24 hours.
It’s sort of a reverse evolution for Snapchat towards more traditional timeline-focused social networks like Facebook and Instagram. In the end, it seems more useful for the brands who want to tap into Snapchat’s rabid userbase, rather than the users who just want a slightly secure way to share ephemera.
“Your Story never ends and it’s always changing,” the Snapchat team wrote on its blog. “The end of your Story today is the beginning of your Story tomorrow. And each Snap in your Story includes a list of everyone who views it.”
The Stories feature pops up as a new option when you’re sharing Snapchats. By default, it’s viewable by all of your Snapchat friends an unlimited number of times, though you can tweak who has access in the app’s settings. Also interesting, Snapchat will let you know who viewed media in your Story.
While Snapchat has found success by giving people a way to share slightly embarrassing content, it also needs to build an actual business at some point. With its Stories, businesses can now steadily build up streams of content for their fans. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Snapchat offer group Stories eventually.
In June, Snapchat snagged $60 million in funding and announced that its users were sending more than 200 million messages per day. The company has raised $75 million so far from investors including General Catalyst and SV Angel.