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Snapchat Discover launches, brings current affairs to your phone

Adding to Snapchat’s already surprisingly varied feature set, the new Discover section aims to bring premium ad-supported content to users.

It wasn’t that long ago that users in the US gained the ability to send cash to each other via the app’s newly unveiled Snapcash feature, but now Snapchat is turning its attentions to informing its users with the new Discover section.

By swiping left users can watch and read about goings on in the past 24-hours with content from across the globe. Presently the Discover screen features 11 feeds, plus a ‘how to use Discover’ Snap Channel in the centre of the lineup.

It’s not clear how new content creators can submit their work to have it transformed into a channel on the Discover page, and a subscription function might be useful once more feeds emerge, but in its present state Discover features content from CNN, MTV, Cosmopolitan, The Daily Mail, Bleacher Report, The Food Network, National Geographic, People, Vice, Yahoo! News and Fushion.net.

Each feed consists of a few pages with brief summary videos or clips paired to a headline. Swiping along takes you to the next story in the feed while swiping down will reveal either a full-length video or a written article. Each feed ends with a ‘see you tomorrow’ message, which is particularly important as every 24-hours, the content on Discover is refreshed with new stories, so as to remain current.

This curated feed aggregator approach places Snapchat in competition with the likes of HTC’s BlinkFeed and Flipboard, who focus on written content taken from a number of publications and sources, but both of these services offer far greater customisation (and support animated gifs as well as embedded video as well) in their current incarnations.

In the company’s announcement post they highlight the creative merits of delivering content via Discover, ‘This time we built the technology to serve the art: each edition includes full screen photos and videos, awesome long form layouts, and gorgeous advertising.’ Whilst we couldn’t yet find any, it’s clear that Snapchat plans to monetise Discover by means of tailored ads within the various channels, how well it handles advertising in this new avenue of the app will no doubt determine its popularity with users and ultimately its overall success.

The Discover update has also shifted a few things around in the general Snapchat interface with your contacts now at the top of the viewfinder and a QR-code style Snapchat logo ID.

What do you think of the update and all that Discover brings? Could you see yourselves using Snapchat as your main news source? Let us know in the comments below.

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