Snapchat deletes a distinctive feature and makes it easier to add friends

Snapchat is removing a cumbersome feature and making it easier to add friends on its app.

The Los Angeles startup announced Wednesday that users will no longer have to continuously hold a finger on the screen to watch videos that friends have posted on the popular chat and entertainment app. Now, they can tap once to watch a video and let their finger rest - as is typical on most other apps.

The "hold-to-view" functionality had been among the many features that confused people trying to learn Snapchat. Getting rid of it is a "pretty big change," Snapchat said. And it comes with a potential downside. Not having to interact with the screen during playback could lead to pay less attention to the videos.

But as Snapchat has sought more deals with advertisers in recent weeks, it's made an effort to make the app easier for a broader, older audience to understand. That's included Chief Executive Evan Spiegel explaining "the three screens of Snapchat" in a crudely filmed YouTube video. One part of the app is for capture, one for watching content from and one to see stories from media outlets.

An update arriving Wednesday on both Android and Apple devices also brings a new ability to the first screen. Users can quickly add someone who's nearby as a contact on the assuming that the second person has the feature opened up at the same time.


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