Public stories on Snapchat are now searchable. The shift signals Snapchat's evolution from a highly limited social networking experience to one that provides a real-time view of specific areas of interests, all the while maintaining its ephemeral quality — one that it championed.

Snapchat Launches Search Feature For Our Stories Submissions

Snapchat has now launched a Search feature for Stories submitted to Our Stories, its public trove of content from users all around the world. Be it football, video games, pets, or cultural events, Snapchat is giving the world front-row seats to individual human experiences, offering people opportunities to immerse oneself in a keyhole view of life as lived by either a total stranger or someone you know. This way, Snapchat runs the potential to become a stronger competitor to YouTube and Twitter.

The move fits greatly with Snap's strategy following its IPO, the slow-down of its user growth, and mounting competition from Facebook's Snapchat clones: that it's going to focus not on increasing the number of its users, but increasing the engagement of users it already has, meaning that it'll work on Snapchat as an experience, not as an audience-pumping vehicle.

It also breaks one of Snapchat's most vaunted rules. Content will no longer be limited to 24-hour timespans, expiring when the clock is up. As TechCrunch reports, content in Our Stories will be available to view from less than a day to weeks or even months. If, perchance, content surrounding a theme is pumped even more quickly than normal, search results will turn over more quickly, too. On the other hand, themes with less submissions may see more visibility to ensure that there's something users can watch when they search for that theme.

How Searching Snapchat Stories Works

Snapchat lets users submit content to Our Stories in January, letting people participating in certain events publish their Stories to everyone. The barrage, however, was too plenty to properly curate and categorize into different themes.

But now, Snapchat is taking advantage of algorithms for a less chaotic curation. This algorithm will determine the theme of a particular content based on the caption text, time, and visual elements present. Then it groups Stories by theme. As an example, Snapchat's algorithm might detect the shape of certain animals in a video and have it automatically registered as part of the "animals" theme, or refine it down to what type of animal was in the video exactly. In the short launch video, Snap notes that the feature can be used to look at content from a myriad of interests, such as basketball games, fashion week, bars, and puppies, even. Over 1 million themes of unique Stories will be available, according to Snap.

How To Search for Snapchat Stories

Using the new feature is relatively easy. First, open Snapchat and tap the top of the screen. The search field will then expand. Type up a specific theme you want to watch Stories about and you're set. Pick whatever story you want to watch.

The feature is rolling out now in select U.S. cities, but everybody's Our Stories submissions are already being indexed and categorized. Initially, ads, sponsored lenses, or other ad-based filters will not show up on search results. A wise move, one can assume, as users may balk at the new schtick if they see ads on there. Snapchat's betting big on expanding the level of engagement users can have with the app, and it has to hope that Search is a start.

Have you tried the new Search feature on Snapchat? Feel free to share your experience down at the comments section!

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