Snapchat's New Search System Sifts Through 1 Million Stories

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Snapchat is giving users more search powers that will open up the app and take it from mostly private communication to more public content sharing.

The messaging and media app beefed up its new search page with a way to sort through content to unlock specific subjects. Now, users can type in "puppies" or "Fashion Week" and call up video Stories related to the topics.

This Stories search opens another window into the content on Snapchat, which has been a rather closed experience for users, who mostly see videos from friends and accounts they follow. Now, content uploaded to Our Stories, which is a public setting, could be surfaced with a search.

Snapchat said Stories search won't run with ads or show sponsored filters.

The company said it has been developing Stories search with the help of machine learning, which is a branch of artificial intelligence, using computers to sort through text and photos to help categorize the content.

"We've built a new way to understand what's happening in Snaps that are submitted to Our Story and then create many new Stories out of those Snaps," Snapchat said in a blog post on Friday. "For example, this advanced machine learning can look at things like caption text, time and visual elements."

Searching the app can take people to local settings like a high school to view all videos being shared during a basketball game. The videos are only included if users post them to the public Our Stories section, and are not taken from personal messages.

Already, Snapchat said it has more than a million Stories, and it has been curating them for years with partners at special events, using them as marketing and media opportunities.

Last year, Snapchat launched a redesigned search page that made the platform a little more accessible, because it had been difficult to find new accounts and content. So far, search has been entirely organic, but eventually Snapchat could give publishers and creators a way to pay for wider distribution.

Snapchat went public this year, and it is competing heavily with Facebook and Instagram, which have been co-opting many of its innovative features like Stories.

Snapchat said Stories search would roll out in select cities and then more widely over the coming weeks.

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