Snapchat is rolling out the new design it announced last week to all iOS and Android users today, following a brief beta test for a small group of users on Android. As promised, it brings a new search bar front and center, designed to make it easier to start chats with friends and groups from anywhere in the app. Stories from friends and brands will also show up in search, making it easier to access them.
In addition to the search bar, the app itself has gotten a visual refresh, adding some new, slick animations and a card-based system for swiping between the main camera, Stories, and chat screens. Snapchat is also bringing Bitmoji (which Snap Inc. bought last year) front and center, with a new Bitmoji prompt on the profile screen. The customized avatars are also used to represent friends in search, assuming they’ve created one.
Along with the new design, though, come some new guidelines for publishers using Discover. As The New York Times reported today, Snapchat will restrict publishers from using images or headlines in Discover that lack editorial value. The move is part of an effort by Snapchat to make Discover a more serious news source, and to cut down on clickbait or outright fake news on the service. According to Times, Snapchat is also planning on introducing age-gating tools to publishers to help prevent minors from seeing inappropriate content on Discover.
That said, judging by the state of Discover this morning, with a prominent Daily Mail story declaring that “Iggy gets jiggy with new man,” it’s clear that there’s still some work to be done. As company representative Rachel Racusen said to The New York Times, the company’s goal is to have Snapchat be “an informative, factual and safe environment for everyone.” And while it’s not there yet, it’s at least encouraging that, in addition to simply making the app look better, Snapchat is taking its role as a source of news seriously.