Snapchat launches universal search to simplify navigation

Snapchat just made it much easier to navigate the app and find friends, groups, Discover publishers and Our Stories with a universal search bar that’s always accessible at the top of the app. Launching today for some people on Android and rolling out soon to all. 

This new interface is designed for speed so you can find what you are looking for and keep snapping.  Last year Snapchat acquired mobile search app Vurb for $110 million plus.  Vurb was an app that allowed people to search for things they liked to do.  " Find and explore things to do from sights to see, restaurants to try, events, music, and more. Get results and suggestions based on your interests, what’s trending, time of day, weather, and location in the form of easy-to-use Vurb Cards."  It appears these Vurb Cards are being intergated into the Snapchat. 

With universal search also comes new revenue opportunities. Snapchat could potentially let advertisers pay for sponsored placement atop search results, or as suggestions in the search interface. This could allow Snapchat to directly monetize the desire of brands to build an audience on its network. When asked if ads were coming to search, the company declined to comment on future plans. As Snap Inc. heads toward a 2017 IPO at an expected valuation around $25 billion, it needs to prove it has plenty of different ways it could earn more money in the future.

Here's how the new Snapchat Search works:

Snapchat is also now allowing people anywhere at any time to submit to Our Story, the app’s curated and themed slideshows for holidays, events and more. While five months ago things looked good for Snap’s IPO, the surprisingly swift success of the Snapchat Stories clone Instagram Stories now poses a threat. Instagram’s version just hit 150 million daily users — the same number Snapchat touts — and is already starting to show full-screen photo and video post-roll ads similar to Snapchat’s. To keep creators and common users loyal to its platform, Snapchat needs to help them keep building their audience. Meanwhile, it must demonstrate potential money-makers beyond what Instagram has copied. Universal search could provide an answer to both.