On Thursday, Snapchat confirmed that it is releasing four new APIs, allowing developers to build features using the app or its data for the first time, according to a Recode report.
The move puts SnapChat on the same playing field as Facebook and Twitter, which have long offered public APIs. However, the company appears to have learned a lesson from Facebook's recent privacy issues, and will share far less user information with developers than Facebook did in its APIs.
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Opening up its APIs could also help Snapchat increase its brand recognition with people who don't use the app, and encourage more sign-ups and user retention, Recode noted.
Here are the four APIs Snapchat just opened up, and how they may help your business:
1. Login API
This will allow people to use their Snapchat username to create accounts on other apps, similar to how you can login to Spotify with Facebook. This could allow your business's website to build in a Snapchat login along with a regular user login.
2. Camera API
This will let people share things from other apps directly to their Snapchat Story, potentially giving businesses the chance to spread their content further or engage in cross-promotional marketing across platforms and apps.
3. Bitmoji integration
Another API will let users transfer their Bitmoji avatar into other apps. With the popularity of Bitmoji among consumers, this could make your company's app more accessible and fun for users.
4. Themed stories
The final API will allow developers to use public Snapchat photos and videos to create themed Stories on a third-party app or website, Recode reported, which could allow users to better engage with your company's site.
In terms of privacy, Snapchat's APIs offer limited information to developers. For example, the login API only gives them access to a user's Snapchat username, and leaves out other demographic information like age or location, Recode reported.
Snapchat executives also said that the company plans to manually review all API partners. "Any future third-party Snap Kit app integration submitted to us will need to go through a review and approval process to make sure we know how their integration will work," a company spokesperson told Recode.
It remains to be seen if opening up APIs will help Snapchat appeal to a broader audience. The company's Q1 2018 revenue of $230 million was up 54% from a year ago, but still a net loss of more than $385 million, largely due to an unpopular redesign of the app, as reported by our sister site ZDNet. The APIs may be an attempt to help the company gain new users and remain relevant.
The big takeaways for tech leaders:
- Snapchat launched four new APIs, allowing developers to build features using the app or its data for the first time.
- With its APIs, Snapchat will not share as much user information with developers as Facebook did.
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Alison DeNisco Rayome has nothing to disclose. She does not hold investments in the technology companies she covers.
Alison DeNisco Rayome is a Staff Writer for TechRepublic. She covers CXO, cybersecurity, and the convergence of tech and the workplace.