(Reuters) – Snap Inc on Thursday announced a slate of new features for its photo messaging app Snapchat, such as new original shows and ways for outside developers to create products that will entice users to spend more time using the app.
Snap has sought to set itself apart from rivals for both users and investors, focusing on communication between close friends rather than broadcasting to an open audience, and allowing it to avoid the misinformation and hate speech problems that have plagued Facebook and Twitter. Shares of Snap have risen more than 50% over the past year.
During a webcast for Snap’s Partner Summit, which gathers developers who use the Snapchat app, as well as its creators and marketers, Snap said it will add an “action bar” to make it easier to navigate the app.
Users will now be able to find local businesses on its Snap Map feature, which will open up new ways for Snap to make money by allowing companies to promote their business, Snap said.
Snapchat, known for photo messages that disappear after being opened, has invested heavily in shows made to be watched on mobile, as well as in-app gaming. On Thursday, it announced 10 new original shows, including “Coach Kev” starring comedian Kevin Hart who will share “daily doses of positivity and wisdom,” and “Queen of Stylez,” a documentary series that follows celebrity hairstylist Tokyo Stylez.
The company also launched Snap Minis, which will allow outside developers to build experiences inside the Snapchat app. For example, popular meditation app Headspace will introduce a mini version inside Snapchat, allowing users to do quick meditations and send encouraging messages to their friends.
(Reporting by Sheila Dang; Editing by David Gregorio)