The Snapchat app has always been a horrendous lag-fest on Android. Users have been asking the company for years to improve the experience, but only when its earnings began to plummet did Snap Inc finally decide to fix it. Today, the company announced an updated design for Snapchat, but this isn't the all-new Android app we've have been waiting for.
If you're not familiar with the existing design, allow me to quickly go over it. When you open the app, you arrive at the camera page, where you can record Snaps to share with friends. When you swipe left, you see a list of all your friends, and tapping one will let you send text messages (or Snaps). Swiping right from the camera shows your friend's Stories, as well as a variety of sponsored "articles." I use that term very loosely, because the content mostly consists of clickbait and stories about the Kardashians (sometimes both at once).
The previous Snapchat design
The new design, which hasn't rolled out to Android yet, is a bit different. Stories have moved to the left screen, and the right screen is now fully occupied by content from publishers. This means that the web content can now be completely ignored (excluding ads that occasionally show up when going through Stories). Stories are now sorted based on a new 'best friends' algorithm, and the company has brought back the auto-advance feature.
Snap Inc has already said the update will hurt its profits in the short term, but it's hoping more users will stick around (rather than jump to Instagram) because of the increased focus on friends. Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel said, "There is a strong likelihood that the redesign of our application will be disruptive to our business in the short term, and we don’t yet know how the behavior of our community will change when they begin to use our updated application. We’re willing to take that risk for what we believe are substantial longterm benefits to our business."
Meanwhile, Android users will have to keep waiting for the rewritten app. A Snapchat representative confirmed to us that the new update isn't the major revamp that was announced earlier this month.