Snapchat, the popular photo and video sharing app that has taken the world by storm, has introduced a new feature called Stories, that will allow users to create a rolling news-style montage with their photos and videos, which will stay and can be viewed for up to 24 hours.
Stories is a drastic change because Snapchat to date only allowed photos and videos to exist for up to 10 seconds, before getting them deleted from the app's servers.
Here's why the developers went for the big change - the new feature will help users create day-long narratives - a set of photos and videos taken during the day, complete with captions and descriptions - and each "snap" in the Stories can be shared and will include a list of those who viewed it and commented on it. Something similar to Facebook Timeline, with the difference being that the Stories on Snapchat lasts for only a day.
In a YouTube video, Snapchat said "it's about time" Stories was introduced and to some, it suggests an acknowledgement by the company that its original model of fast vanishing photos and messages was flawed to an extent, especially as some people claimed to have retrieved photos that were meant to have disappeared forever.
Or, it could also mean a move towards monetization of its service as Stories will be able to bring plenty of opportunities for advertising or brand placement, especially if Miley Cyrus or Kim Kardashian open their Stories to everyone.
It is not clear how Stories will affect privacy issues but the new feature does make Snapchat take a whole new business direction, especially as the company edges closer towards the $1 billion valuation mark.