Snapchat finally gets a better navigation bar

For an app best known for sending disappearing photos back and forth, Snapchat is practically bursting with features. Problem is, you have to be a Snapchat super fan and/or a Jedi Knight to find them all.

Snapchat made some product announcements at the Snap Partner Summit, which should hopefully change that. First and foremost, it’s expanding the navigation bar at the bottom of the app, called the Activity Bar, to make it easier to access the Snap Map and Snap content (like Stories from creators and Snap Original shows). The tabs in the bar will also change depending on which part of the app you’re in.

Going from three tabs to five is a huge improvement for the maps and content features, both of which require some non-intuitive skills to access. Those two features are also big business growth areas for the company.

Prior to today’s announcement, you could access a map by clicking a friend’s location (if they chose to share it) in their icon, or by pinching the camera screen, and then pulling down (you can also view the map in a Can access) browser). Snap says that 200 million Snapchatters use Maps every month, and making it easy to find makes sense.

However, the change is likely also fueled by the fact that Snap also announced that Maps would be getting a new addition: businesses. Snap announced the launch of Places, which means that businesses will really be able to put themselves on the map. They can display content, provide information such as hours, and display reviews from TripAdvisor and Foursquare.

Restaurants can also allow Postmates, DoorDash and Uber Eats to allow users to place orders by tapping through a map location. How Snap will monetize that is not yet clear, but if Instagram is any indication, more businesses on your platform means more money.

Snap also appears to be breaking up the Discover tab into two separate tabs. A tab called “Stories” will have your friends’ stories, your subscriptions, and a section of curated content for you.

second tab is New Discover section, which also includes your subscriptions, a new short-form news product called “Happening Now”, as well as “Trending” and “Popular” content. Snap appears to be giving more real estate to original and partner content. The move makes sense: Snap has invested heavily in original content(opens in a new tab)Which you could previously access if you saw a small gray line of text at the top of the For You section that read “Swipe up to show”.

Getting to Snap features like games, making full use of Snapchat photo editing, and accessing all the lenses still requires some deep familiarity with the app. Luckily, Mashable’s got a handy guide to help you out with the Snapchat secret menu.

That spiffy new activity bar should help too.

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