Snap is doing internal tests of a paid subscription called Snapchat Plus, which will give users early access to features and other abilities.
In a statement, Snap representative Liz Markman stated, “We’re doing early internal testing of Snapchat Plus, a new subscription service for Snapchatters. We’re excited about the potential to share exclusive, experimental, and pre-release features with our subscribers and learn more about how we can best serve our community.“
According to screenshots and information posted to Twitter by app researcher Alessandro Paluzzi, Snap is also testing other features for Snapchat Plus, including the ability to pin one of your friends as your “#1 BFF,” change the Snapchat icon, and notice who rewatches your stories. Paluzzi also indicates that the price for Snapchat Plus is currently listed as 4.59 Euros monthly and 45.99 Euros yearly. But, of course, at this stage, those may be placeholder prices.
Snap is not the only social network or messaging platform working on a paid tier. Telegram has confirmed that it’s also working on a premium subscription, due out later this month, and Twitter pitched its Blue service late last year. It’s currently in “early internal testing.”
In the wake of Apple’s introducing a privacy feature for Ads with iOS 14.5, allowing users to turn off ad tracking on an app-by-app basis, many free apps have had to reconsider how they make money. Snapchat, in particular, cited changes to iOS as a reason for missed revenue targets and has said it will slow down hiring this year.
Snapchat, a product of Snap Inc., is a free image messaging application headquartered in Venice, California. Photos sent through the app are only available for a specific time (decided by the sender) before disappearing. An instant messaging interface also allows users to send messages, photos, and money. Users can decorate their photos with filters, stickers, and augmented reality objects. Snapchat’s Stories platform enables users to share a photo with all of their contacts for twenty-four hours before it disappears. Snapchat’s Discover feature showcases short-form vertical videos from brands such as The Daily Mail, Mashable, and Cosmopolitan.
Snapchat was launched as Picaboo, an app exclusively for iOS, in July 2011 by Evan Spiegel, Reggie Brown, and Bobby Murphy while they were students at Stanford University. It was rebranded as Snapchat in November of that year. In 2012, video snaps were introduced to the platform, and a version of the app was released for Android.
In 2014, Snapchat refused offers of acquisition, including requests from Facebook. In the same year, Snapchat introduced video chat and acquired AddLive and Vergence Labs. In the case of Vergence Labs, the acquisition was for $15 million in cash and stocks. Vergence Labs was the developer of Epiphany Eyewear and a mobile application, Scan. Snapchat also agreed with the FTC following misinterpretations on the storage of user data and the accessibility of “expired” messages.
On November 23, 2020, Snapchat introduced Spotlight, a feature that allows users to post public short videos—the company’s alternative to TikTok and Instagram Reels. The service did not include advertisements at launch but is expected to introduce them in the future. In addition, the Spotlight will not have public comments, unlike competing services.
Snapchat hosts several functions for users and brands to share content, including disappearing photos, direct messaging chat, stories that last twenty-four hours, video and audio chat, and more.
Snaps: Photos or videos sent through Snapchat are called “snaps” and are designed to disappear once they have been opened. Snaps can be edited with captions, drawings, and filters, and senders can choose the duration of time they can be viewed before their posts disappear. Users can replay received snaps once, and while it is possible to screenshot snaps using their phone, the sender is notified. Video snaps were introduced on December 14, 2012, and could be recorded for up to ten seconds.
Audio and video call: The video call feature was first only able to be initiated when both users were in the chat window. Calls were made by holding down the blue video button for a few seconds, at which point the caller’s video would automatically fill the chat screen on both users’ screens. Users receiving the call could opt into the ring with video or listen to the caller.
Snapchat’s Chat 2.0 app update on March 29, 2016, removed the need to hold the screen to keep the call going continuously. The video function can now be turned on and off by tapping the green camera button, and the front and rear cameras can be swapped by either pressing the camera swap icon or double tapping the screen. Additionally, the app update allowed users to send messages, pictures, and stickers while video chatting. The update also introduced audio calls and enabled users to call friends without that user being active on the chat screen.
Chat: The messages are brief and self-destructing and are erased after the user exits the chat page. However, messages can easily be saved by tapping the message in the chat, highlighting the statement in light gray. Messages from both the sender and recipient user can be kept. In addition, stickers and photos from users’ camera rolls were able to be sent in text chats after app updates in 2016.
Stories: Stories are posts that last for twenty-four hours and can be published to a user’s profile, restricted lists of friends, or public location-based galleries. Stories were introduced in October 2013 and by June 2014 surpassed direct snaps in views to become the most frequently used function of the app. The Stories function reached one billion views per day in 2014. In addition, Snapchat incorporated a Live Stories feature allowing users to share photos and videos for public viewing.
Lens: The Snapchat Lens feature was introduced in September 2015, allowing users to use real-time effects that utilize face detection technology. The part expanded in April 2017 with World Lens, allowing users to put 3D rendered objects or characters into their videos and photos using augmented reality technology.
Snap Map: Snap Map is a geolocation feature released by Snapchat in June 2017. Snap Map is a separate app section that allows users to share their location and publish area-based stories, using Bitmojis as location markers. The feature was developed using intellectual property Snapchat after purchasing the social media map app Zenly. Map data for Snap Map is provided by OpenStreetMap and Mapbox, with DigitalGlobe providing satellite imagery.