Skip to main content

Snapchat's new Discover feature puts news and entertainment a swipe away from your stories

Snapchat's new Discover feature puts news and entertainment a swipe away from your stories

Share this story

Snapchat has launched "Discover," a new feature that highlights stories and videos provided both by outside publishers and by Snapchat's in-house team of journalists and videographers. The new service is ad-supported, with Snapchat selling ads against media provided by networks such as ESPN, Vice, and CNN, as well as its own content.

Discover features videos, articles, and photos cherry-picked from these networks to appeal to Snapchat's young-skewing userbase. The company described the functions of the new feature in a blog post published today. Users can tap to open an "edition," swipe left to browse the snaps inside, or swipe up on a Snap for expanded content.

Discover lives to the right of your contact list, and at today's launch features content from 11 different partners in a grid of circular logos. (In the middle of the grid is a black Snapchat logo for the company's new "snapchannel," where it will feature its own finds from other content creators.) After tapping to open up an edition, Snapchat's UI disappears to allow for each company's custom full-screen experience. Publications like CNN, Cosmopolitan, and The Daily Mail are using it in a similar way to how magazine apps tend to work. Each page of the edition teases a different story, with full text and videos accessible by swiping up. Text can even be copied and pasted, but there is no ability to share selected text as of now. With most editions, a video ad appears every few pages.

Other companies are using Discover in different ways. Comedy Central's channel consists of quick teasers from shows like The Daily Show, Broad City, and Workaholics, with full videos available below each clip. Food Network shows off popular dishes and lets you swipe up to see recipes. ESPN mixes a few Sportscenter Top 10 highlights in between pages that show heavily designed stats from different leagues. Playing off of the daily structure of Snapchat's stories, basically every edition's final page is used to encourage users to come back in 24 hours.

Having just been released, there are some issues. The audio from some of the full-screen videos kept playing even as I scrolled to the right through the rest of the respective editions. And while the app manages moving graphics and video loading well enough, quick swipes can hang it up here and there.

The new feature, first rumored in August last year, was expected to launch in November and feature only videos and articles produced by networks that Snapchat had brokered deals with. But last week it was reported that Snapchat would be including original content in the curated section of the app, breaking with other social networks such as Facebook by turning itself into an online publisher.

Snapchat Verge

Other features were rolled out today, too. The app now provides you with a contact card view that displays a unique Snapchat logo that other users can use to instantly add you as a contact — much like how a QR code works. The contacts page is now called "Stories," and defaults to only showing contacts who have published a snap to their story in the last 24 hours. All of these features (including Discover) are available in today's update, which is currently available to iPhone users in the App Store.

The app made its name with self-deleting selfies, but Snapchat has been experimenting with the kind of media it provides for a while now. The company piloted its "Stories" feature last year, piecing together 24 hours of pictures to show a day in the life of a visitor to Las Vegas' Electronic Daisy Carnival and Brazil's Soccer World Cup. Despite their difference from Snapchat's trademark disappearing pictures, Stories rapidly became the app's most popular feature.

Although Snapchat has had huge success with its brand — the company is valued at up to $10 billion and has the third most popular social media app behind Facebook and Instagram for 18- to 34-year-olds — it has struggled to make the kind of money it's said to be worth. After reportedly turning down a $3 billion buyout offer from Facebook, Stories and the ad-supported Discover are part of an ongoing effort by CEO Evan Spiegel to make Snapchat as financially lucrative as its monster valuation suggests it could be.

Sean O'Kane contributed to this report.

Today’s Storystream

Feed refreshed Sep 25 Not just you

Emma RothSep 25
Rihanna’s headlining the Super Bowl Halftime Show.

Apple Music’s set to sponsor the Halftime Show next February, and it’s starting out strong with a performance from Rihanna. I honestly can’t remember which company sponsored the Halftime Show before Pepsi, so it’ll be nice to see how Apple handles the show for Super Bowl LVII.

Emma RothSep 25
Starlink is growing.

The Elon Musk-owned satellite internet service, which covers all seven continents including Antarctica, has now made over 1 million user terminals. Musk has big plans for the service, which he hopes to expand to cruise ships, planes, and even school buses.

Musk recently said he’ll sidestep sanctions to activate the service in Iran, where the government put restrictions on communications due to mass protests. He followed through on his promise to bring Starlink to Ukraine at the start of Russia’s invasion, so we’ll have to wait and see if he manages to bring the service to Iran as well.

External Link
Emma RothSep 25
We might not get another Apple event this year.

While Apple was initially expected to hold an event to launch its rumored M2-equipped Macs and iPads in October, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman predicts Apple will announce its new devices in a series of press releases, website updates, and media briefings instead.

I know that it probably takes a lot of work to put these polished events together, but if Apple does pass on it this year, I will kind of miss vibing to the livestream’s music and seeing all the new products get presented.

External Link
Emma RothSep 24
California Governor Gavin Newsom vetoes the state’s “BitLicense” law.

The bill, called the Digital Financial Assets Law, would establish a regulatory framework for companies that transact with cryptocurrency in the state, similar to New York’s BitLicense system. In a statement, Newsom says it’s “premature to lock a licensing structure” and that implementing such a program is a “costly undertaking:”

A more flexible approach is needed to ensure regulatory oversight can keep up with rapidly evolving technology and use cases, and is tailored with the proper tools to address trends and mitigate consumer harm.

Welcome to the new Verge

Revolutionizing the media with blog posts

Nilay PatelSep 13
The Verge
Andrew WebsterSep 24
Get ready for some Netflix news.

At 1PM ET today Netflix is streaming its second annual Tudum event, where you can expect to hear news about and see trailers from its biggest franchises, including The Witcher and Bridgerton. I’ll be covering the event live alongside my colleague Charles Pulliam-Moore, and you can also watch along at the link below. There will be lots of expected names during the stream, but I have my fingers crossed for a new season of Hemlock Grove.

Andrew WebsterSep 24
Looking for something to do this weekend?

Why not hang out on the couch playing video games and watching TV. It’s a good time for it, with intriguing recent releases like Return to Monkey Island, Session: Skate Sim, and the Star Wars spinoff Andor. Or you could check out some of the new anime on Netflix, including Thermae Romae Novae (pictured below), which is my personal favorite time-traveling story about bathing.

A screenshot from the Netflix anime Thermae Romae Novae.
Thermae Romae Novae.
Image: Netflix
Jay PetersSep 23
Twitch’s creators SVP is leaving the company.

Constance Knight, Twitch’s senior vice president of global creators, is leaving for a new opportunity, according to Bloomberg’s Cecilia D’Anastasio. Knight shared her departure with staff on the same day Twitch announced impending cuts to how much its biggest streamers will earn from subscriptions.

Tom WarrenSep 23
Has the Windows 11 2022 Update made your gaming PC stutter?

Nvidia GPU owners have been complaining of stuttering and poor frame rates with the latest Windows 11 update, but thankfully there’s a fix. Nvidia has identified an issue with its GeForce Experience overlay and the Windows 11 2022 Update (22H2). A fix is available in beta from Nvidia’s website.