The popularity of Paytm is declining

Snapchat wants to become a super app - what third-party providers can now prepare for [5 reading tips]

The American instant messaging service Snapchat opens under the name »Snap Minis« for HTML-based mini apps. The provider is thus copying the principle of super apps, which is extremely popular in China and other parts of Asia. Due to their multifaceted functionality, these have become extremely popular over the past six years.

Snapchat still exists?

Still there. 229 million mainly young users are active on the platform every day around the world. The service enables users to share photos and videos that are only visible for a certain number of seconds with other platform users before they are automatically "deleted".

In contrast to other social media, users do not have profiles that can be expanded with content. The platform is much more comparable to a diary, the contents of which, however, cannot be commented on or liked. From a small slump in growth, among other things due to the competition from Instagram and a badly received redesign of the app, Snapchat has since recovered and recently presented some promising future plans.

Snapchat's super plans

In June 2020, Snapchat mother Snap Inc. announced that it would expand the app's chat section to include small third-party applications. Now the first of these so-called "Snap Minis" are available. The HTML-based apps allow users to do certain tasks directly in Snapchat.

At the start there are among other things »Snap Minis« from the meditation app Headspace and an app developed by Snap, which is supposed to help friends with their decision-making. In addition, it should now be possible to buy cinema tickets and create flash cards with the app.

In a further innovation, Snapchat will in future show information about cafes, restaurants and shopping centers on the map integrated in the app. So far, these cards have only been used to show the whereabouts of friends.

Snapchat would also like to put pressure on Apple and Google in the future. Where the app was only able to score points with dog ears or cat whiskers when it comes to augmented reality, more practical fields of application are planned in the future, such as trying on sneakers virtually or getting an impression of the color of the cosmetics on one's own face.

Snapchats "Local Lenses"

Snap Inc. also showed its expanded arsenal for app developers in the field at a partner conference in June. This includes the “Local Lenses” function, in which entire streets are scanned in 3D in order to enable experiences in augmented reality on the basis of these models.

The »Scan« function detects objects in front of the camera and displays information about them - Snapchat mentions plants or dog breeds as an example. Google set up a similar visual search engine with its »Lens« offer. Snapchat, on the other hand, does not do everything itself, but serves as a platform for various specialized services. Various apps can integrate the Snapchat camera with its functions and at the same time combine it with their own algorithms for machine learning.

Snapchat is looking to China

Apps that in turn run smaller apps are rather rare in Europe and America. In China and some emerging countries, the concept of so-called super apps is quite widespread. More than a million such mini-apps run on the app of the Chinese chat service Wechat.

The apps range from shopping offers to games. The Indian payment apps PhonePe and Paytm can also be expanded to include mini apps, which users can then use to buy plane tickets or order food, for example.

How the move towards a super app will pay off and how the blue competition will react remains to be seen. It wouldn't be the first time that Facebook has found Snapchat great features.

5 reading tips

Snap Minis: Snapchat wants to become a super app [it-daily]

TheirTube, Snapchat becomes a super app, activism guides on Instagram, Google G Suite extensions threaten other services [p3000]

Snapchat - The fastest way to share a moment! [Snapchat]

Snapchat emulates Chinese super apps [wuv]

Snapchat disappoints with user numbers [FAZ]