Snapchat’s Exclusive iPhone X AR Lenses Is Now Available

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Back in September, when Apple unveiled the iPhone X, Snapchat showed off some AR lenses exclusively for the handset. The lenses made use of the TrueDepth camera system located on the front of the iPhone X and thereby were of higher quality than what is usually found in the app. Now, six months later, Snapchat is finally releasing these lenses for iPhone X users. Continue reading
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Snapchat’s iPhone X-exclusive Lenses look more realistic than usual

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Snapchat has discovered a way to leverage the power of iPhone X's TrueDepth camera — and that means you'll have access to exclusive Lenses if you use Apple's all-screen mobile device. Starting today, you'll see TrueDepth-enabled Lenses appear period…
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Snapchat’s new Explore feature makes Maps a social experience

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Snapchat recently announced it would be updating Snap Map to bring you notifications of what your friends (and Snapchat itself) are up to. This is one of Snapchat’s steps towards becoming more of a social network, as opposed to a person-to-person photo-sharing app. As reported by The Verge, you will now see a feed of updates on your Snap Map, showing what friends have been up to as well as major stories breaking across the map. You can keep up with your friends and community in a way separate from the Stories — which are quickly being surpassed by Instagram Stories…

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Snapchat’s new Lens Studio tools make AR creation easier

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Snap has teamed up with a handful of partners to create new Lenses and new tools for the Lens Studio, which can make designing AR effects a simpler process. One of its new partners is StudioMDHR, developer of popular run and gun indie video game Cuph…
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Twitter is working to steal one of Snapchat’s best features

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A major redesign of Twitter’s mobile app is rumored to be underway and it could spell bad news for Snapchat. Rumors of Twitter’s camera-focused redesign have been swirling for months, but according to a new report, the redesign will also steal one of Snapchat’s best location-based features. Twitter supposedly plans to make a big change […]

(via Cult of Mac – Tech and culture through an Apple lens)

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Snapchat’s redesign is baffling publishers

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Some publishers are seeing spikes. Others are seeing declines. Everyone is still trying to figure out Snapchat’s new algorithm.

Users haven’t been very happy with Snapchat’s redesign. Publishers who create content for Snapchat’s Discover section, though? They’re still undecided.

That’s because the redesign, which Snap started to roll out broadly in the United States last month, is significantly altering the traffic that publishing partners are seeing for their shows and Stories, according to conversations with several publishing partners.

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Snapchat’s Discover section

Some publishers have seen huge spikes in viewers, as much as 50 percent, while others have seen a decline. Still others have seen an increase in total viewers but a notable decrease in the amount of time those viewers spend watching or scrolling through the content.

The common thread seems to be that none of these publishers fully understand why their traffic is changing. Snapchat’s redesign moved publisher content into its own feed —separate from the stuff users’ friends create — and put it alongside content from events like the Super Bowl and celebrities like Kylie Jenner.

Snapchat is using a software algorithm, similar to the one Facebook uses to prioritize News Feed, to determine what content shows up near the top.

But unlike Facebook, where publishers have been learning for years how the algorithm works (i.e. it boosts live video and downgrades click-bait headlines), Discover publishers are trying to learn what Snapchat’s algorithm is looking for. The company hasn’t told them how it works, according to sources, which means they’re trying to navigate the new section on their own.

Most publishers appear to be prioritizing the metrics that Snapchat cared about before the redesign: Time spent and completion rates, which measure how long users watch or read a publisher’s content; and “loyalty,” or whether the same users are coming back on a consistent basis.

“We’re excited that the redesign will help us to a better job of serving the right content to the right people and help Snapchatters discover new content that they may not have known they are interested in,” a company spokesperson said.

A number of publishers noticed that viewers’ time spent has decreased, which has led to at least one theory. Stories inside Discover now play one after the other automatically, which means you could start by watching Kylie Jenner’s posts and next find yourself looking at the Wall Street Journal.

It’s an attempt by Snapchat to encourage people to discover new stuff, but it might help explain why some traffic is up and time spent is down, as people quickly leave shows or Stories they stumble upon but don’t find interesting.

The algorithm is super new. Some U.S. users were still getting the redesign this week, so these traffic patterns are far from solidified. It’s also possible other Snapchat partners — there are dozens — are having other experiences.

But it’s worth noting the changes given the trouble that Facebook has historically had with publishers — and with its all-powerful algorithm that controls who sees what content.

Snapchat has always been protective of Discover, hand-picking its partners and limiting the total amount of publishers to try and keep the content quality high. Using an algorithm to properly sort all that material will take time to master, but publishers will be paying attention. Discover is now responsible for hundreds of millions of dollars in advertising revenue. That makes understanding how it works a potentially lucrative endeavor.


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Snapchat’s redesign puts publishers in one feed and friends in another. That’s exactly what Facebook says doesn’t work.

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Can Snapchat make two feeds work when Facebook couldn’t?

Facebook has decided that completely separating posts from your friends and family from posts shared by brands and publishers is a bad idea.

It says it discovered that to be the case when it tested the separation strategy by running two feeds for users in a handful of countries over the past four months.

“People don’t want two separate feeds,” wrote Facebook exec Adam Mosseri on Thursday. “In surveys, people told us they were less satisfied with the posts they were seeing, and having two separate feeds didn’t actually help them connect more with friends and family.”

Those findings aren’t just interesting for Facebook. That idea of separating friend stuff from publisher stuff? That was Snapchat’s entire argument for why it rolled out a massive redesign late last year. The new-look Snapchat keeps your friend content on one page and content from brands and celebrities on another.

So far, users haven’t liked the new Snapchat at all (though TechCrunch says downloads are actually up). CEO Evan Spiegel keeps preaching that it will just take time for people to realize the new feel is better.

But it’s interesting that Facebook has decided that this separation strategy doesn’t work. Snapchat will have to hope Facebook is wrong.


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Kylie Jenner tweet wipes $1.3 billion off Snapchat’s value

Snapchat’s value has fallen by $1.3 billion following its much criticized redesign. The explanation for the decline? A damaging tweet from reality TV star Kylie Jenner who Tweeted concerning her disapproval of the app, saying “Sooo does anyone else not open Snapchat anymore?” Although Jenner followed up with a second tweet saying, “still love you […]

(via Cult of Mac – Tech and culture through an Apple lens)

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Snapchat’s redesign was meant for your friends, and celebrities aren’t your friends, says CEO Evan Spiegel

Kylie Jenner doesn’t like the Snapchat redesign — but Snap didn’t change things for her.

Kylie Jenner isn’t happy with Snapchat’s redesign. That probably means it’s working.

Jenner, a member of the insanely popular Kardashian family, tweeted to her 24.5 million followers on Wednesday afternoon that she was no longer opening Snapchat. Bloomberg says Jenner’s tweet, which was “Liked” more than 327,000 times, cost Snap $ 1.3 billion in market value.

It looks like a terrible, unintended consequence of Snapchat’s latest redesign, which started rolling out this month in the U.S. and has very few fans.

But Jenner’s response to the redesign might not be a side effect at all. In fact, based on comments from Snap CEO Evan Spiegel last week, it sounds like the redesign is working exactly as planned.

Here’s what Spiegel said at the Goldman Sachs Technology Conference last week in San Francisco, explaining how Snapchat is using algorithms and separate sections of the app to create a division between content from your friends and content from publishers and celebrities.

“Even some of the complaints we’re seeing reinforce the philosophy. So for example, one of the complaints we got was, ‘Wow, I used to feel like this celebrity was my friend and now they don’t feel like my friend anymore.’ And we’re like, ‘Exactly. They’re not your friend!’ … So for us, even some of the frustrations we’re seeing really validate those changes.”

Jenner doesn’t explicitly say in her tweet why she’s no longer opening the Snapchat app, though we assume it’s because she doesn’t like the redesign. But like the rest of the Kardashian clan, Jenner is a businesswoman who has used the app with tremendous success to help sell her line of beauty products. It’s entirely possible she says she doesn’t like opening the app because she’s seeing that fewer people are seeing her posts. Maybelline, another beauty brand on Snapchat, posted on Thursday that its Snapchat views had “dropped dramatically” since the redesign. (It then deleted the tweet.)

Jenner followed up her first tweet criticizing Snapchat with one expressing her love for it, though that one got a lot fewer “Likes.”

The point is, Snapchat is making a big bet that users want to hear more from their friends than from celebrities like Jenner or brands like Maybelline. Or at the very least, they want to separate most of those interactions into two different parts of the app. It’s not a crazy idea. Facebook just changed its News Feed algorithm to achieve the same goal. And Instagram realized a few years back that it needed to try and find ways to help users see more from friends and less from brands.

Is it good for Snapchat if Jenner abandons the platform? Of course not. It’s possible her massive following will go with her, and, at the very least, a stock hit is the last thing Snap needs after reporting its first positive quarter ever just a few weeks ago.

But there must be a reason these tech companies keep coming back to prioritizing friend-to-friend interactions. It’s possible that seeing less from Jenner now is better for Snap in the long run. We probably won’t know for months if Snap’s gamble pays off. But it’s worth remembering that while Jenner’s frustration clearly surprised a lot of investors, it probably didn’t surprise Evan Spiegel.


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[Update: Create your own lenses from within the app] Snapchat’s Lens Studio will let anyone make and publish Augmented Reality ‘Lenses’

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Snapchat is an inexplicably popular service, but you know what it’s missing? There just aren’t enough augmented reality filters (known as Lenses) for your snaps, right? True or not, Snap has announced a new tool called Lens Studio that will let anyone create augmented reality objects and publish them for other Snapchat users.

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[Update: Create your own lenses from within the app] Snapchat’s Lens Studio will let anyone make and publish Augmented Reality ‘Lenses’ was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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