If Snapchat were a parent, it would be the biggest pushover ever. At least, that's what users are celebrating after the beloved photo sharing app decided to bring back its "Best Friends" feature after removing it just days before. That's right, dry your tears, Snapchatters — though the app initially removed the mainstay stalking tool from its interface on Wednesday, after major pushback from its user base, Snapchat has decided to bring back "Best Friends," turning its users' collective groan into a collective cheer. See? The customer really still is king, at least in the tech industry.
For those of us unfamiliar with Snapchat (because why send or receive a photo to be seen for only a few seconds, right?) the feature in question was one that allowed users to monitor the Snapchat activity of a few select friends, providing a handy dandy, somewhat invasive way of keeping tabs on photo sharing frequency and audiences. In other words, every paranoid significant other's worst nightmare ever, and simultaneously, their most powerful tool. Initially, Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel announced that the "Best Friends" feature would be removed because "a few higher-profile friends wanted to keep their usernames private," but that didn't sit well with the vast majority of its 30 million monthly users.
Consequently, Spiegel assured his customer base that the company would return the beloved stalking mechanism to its rightful owners in due time, but gave no specifics as to when this would happen, or whether the "Best Friends" feature would still function in the same way. Cue the screams.
Ah yes, the 21st century. Aren't you glad that we've come this far?
While most users are lamenting the loss of their favorite feature, some have noticed the considerable improvements that were rolled out with Wednesday's app update. Along with the disappearance of "Best Friends" came the appearance of "Discover," which Tech Crunch describes as "Snapchat's big new play in the world of media...a special tab in the app powered by content publishers like ESPN, Yahoo, etc., offering daily long-form content with videos, articles and, of course, advertisements." In keeping with the tradition of ephemerality that has come to define the Snapchat generation, news stories will only be available for 24 hours, and will be refreshed at the end of each day. So if you find a good article that you want to save for later, make sure you make a note of it somewhere else before it disappears.
Slowly but surely, Snapchat is becoming more of a serious social network with content that exceeds your awkward cat selfie, following in the footsteps of other tech giants like Facebook and Twitter. Snapchat not only now allows you to follow the news, but also to pay friends with "Snapcash," a feature first announced last November. Now, Snapchat is not only competing with the likes of Instagram and Facebook Messenger, but is also delving into the peer-to-peer payment system previously dominated by companies like Venmo. This constant expansion certainly seems like a sure sign of Snapchat's evolution from beloved tween picture messaging system to a much more diversified, and (dare I say it?) useful app as a whole.
So fret not, Snapchatters. While the "Best Friends" feature may be on a temporary hiatus, it seems as though its absence will make room for improvements across the board. But of course, if it still upsets you, just stomp your feet a couple more times, and Mr. Spiegel will be sure to address your concerns. After all, we're all "higher-profile friends" in his book.
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