TechCrunch recently reported on something potentially game-changing: Snapchat is planning to launch Snapkit, its first full-fledged and legit developer platform.
Snapkit’s platform prototypes indicate it will let other apps offer a “login with Snapchat” option and use Bitmoji avatars, as well as host a version of Snap’s full-featured camera software that can share back to Snapchat.
According to TechCrunch, Snapkit’s log in with Snapchat feature is designed to let users sign up for new apps with their Snapchat credentials instead of creating new ones. So, instead of yet another user name and password, you just log in with your Snapchat account. And because Snap doesn’t collect much personal info about you – unlike… cough… Facebook — there’s less data to worry about accidentally giving to developers. Or, realistically, less data to worry about developers misusing.
Based on pure laziness alone, displaying a branded button on various apps’ signup pages could lure in new Snapchat users or reengage lapsed ones. Consequently, Snapkit could breathe new life into the plateauing — or tanking, depending on who you believe — space.
But take note: Facebook also used a similar strategy, becoming a ubiquitous utility with tentacles touching everyone’s business, that has backfired spectacularly. Think Cambridge Analytica.
As such, using this familiar strategy – Make is so easy to log in to stuff… just as long as you have a Big Social Media Platform account– may help to get new users looking for a(n allegedly) privacy-safe way to log in to other apps. Or, it may also backfire as skeptical users opt out altogether.
According to TechCrunch, Snap Inc. is currently in talks with several app developers to integrate Snapkit. Snap itself declined to comment on TechCrunch’s story.
Snapkit is out of character
According to TechCrunch, Snapchat is making a big “course correction” in its overall business strategy here after years of rejecting outside developers.
The company has a long-standing ban on using unofficial apps (like, for secretly saving snaps) that require your Snapchat credentials, which can cause data breaches. In fact, Snap’s terms of service still say: “You will not use or develop any third-party applications that interact with the Services or other users’ content or information without our written consent.”
Until now, Snapchat hasn’t created functionality that developers could use in their own apps. In this respect, Snapkit marks a big change.
Another benefit of Snapkit would be the ability to bring Bitmoji avatars with you to different mobile platforms. The super cute, cartoon-personalized avatar app has been a staple of every top 10 chart since 2016, and it remains one of Snapchat’s most unique offerings.
The desire to see one’s likeness across the mobile universe could nudge more users to create their own Bitmoji lookalike – the full power of which requires Snapchat.
Why should you care?
Snapchat is currently — again, allegedly – struggling. This, in spite of inventing and/or acquiring some of the hottest trends in social media, ever. For people who are already great at Snapchat, this may breathe new life into the Snap space, which may mean new users. And that may mean new potential customers for you.
Better even than the Bitmoji bonus IMO.
Erika Chan is a sex positive people watcher (and writer). Email her at email@example.com.
Image via David Hartman.