History of Snapchat

Snapchat is the brainchild of Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy, who are former students of Stanford with backgrounds in product design and computer science.  They launched their first application, named “Picaboo,” in Spring of 2011.  Later that year, in September, the re-released their application as “Snapchat” in the iOS Store, an Apple Platform.  The next year, Snapchat expanded to the Android platform and gained a broader user base.  2012 also saw the implementation of video capability.  At the end of 2012, Snapchat users were sending an average of 50 million “snaps” per day.

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Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy

This growth continued into 2013 and 2014, wherein the “Stories” and “Chat” features were implemented.  A “Story” on snapchat is essentially a photo or video that is posted to a public section of the application where all the user’s friends can view it for 24 hours.  The chat feature is a messaging utility with the same ephemeral nature of the application, in that each message disappears immediately after it is read by the recipient.  2014 also saw features such as “Geofilters,” which allow a user to use a pre-made filter that corresponds with his/her geographic location.  For example, if someone is in New York City, they will be able to use a filter on their photograph that is unique to New York City and cannot be accessed anywhere else.  More business-based functions were added as well, such as Snapchat ads, which play in between viewing users’ stories and can be skipped, as well as “Snapcash,” which lets users send money to each other through the app.

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A Bernie Sanders-themed Geofilter in New York

2015 and 2016 saw further features being introduced to the Snapchat application.  “Discover” allows users to view contents from media entities such as CNN, National Geographic, VICE, Food Network, and others.  Lenses, which allow users who are taking selfies to use a filter such as a dog, rainbows, or hearts over their faces, was also introduced in 2015.  One of the most significant milestones for Snapchat occurred in November 2016, when Snap Inc., which the company had renamed itself, went public with a 25 billion IPO.  This demonstrates the continued growth of Snapchat both through content and financially.

In summary, Snapchat has continued to grow through the introduction of both user-based and financially-based functions.