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Snapchat has often been criticized for being confusing to first-time users, but parent company Snap Inc. is looking to change that with a forthcoming update.

The popular ephemeral messaging app will be getting a new search bar aimed at making it easier to message friends and find content. The new search bar has already arrived for a limited number of Android users, but will be rolling out broadly to all iPhone and Android users in the coming days.

The search field is situated at the top of the screen and will be accessible from anywhere within the Snapchat app, allowing for quick access to contacts and publisher content. After entering a friend’s name in the entry bar, Snapchatters will be able to tap his or her card to jump into a chat with that person. Users can also opt to tap that friend’s Story thumbnail to view their story full screen, or press and hold the contact’s card to view their mini profile. The update will also make it possible to find specific publisher stories by entering a publication’s name in the search bar.

Snapchat users will notice another shortcut as well: an icon in the top left corner that takes them to their profile. If a person’s Bitmoji account is linked to their Snapchat profile, they will see their character appear in the left corner. If not, the icon will show Snapchat’s ghost mascot.

Snap Inc. is also adding the ability for any user to submit to the Our Story channel, which was previously limited to those attending specific events of public interest.

While the new tweaks may seem minor, it represents a different approach for the company, which had previously required users to swipe from the main camera screen to access other elements of the service. The changes may be an attempt to make the app more appealing to a broader audience as Snap Inc. prepares for its hotly anticipated initial public offering, which is expected to happen in March.

 

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