Snapchat makes timed snaps a thing of the past

Users can now set their snaps to play forever, at least until someone closes them

Financial trends and news by Steven Loeb
May 9, 2017
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In the wake of the Snowden leaks, a bunch of companies popped up dedicated to being empheneral, including Secret, Yik Yak, Whisper and Snapchat. The idea was that your data wouldn't be stored forever, so it couldn't be accessed by the government.

The trend didn't last. Secret shut its doors in 2015, and Yik Yak was acqui-hired by Square for a reported $3 million last month (the company had once been valued at $400 million). Whisper, meanwhile, had its own scandals to deal with when it came to user privacy. 

Snap, meanwhile, has gone public and is about to release its first quarterly earnings report tomorrow. The company survived, and thrived, while so many of its competitors faltered. The reason, I believe, is because it was never married to the idea of disappearing messages. That was a feature, not its whole idea.

The company took another big step away from that idea with the launch of Limitless Snaps on Tuesday. They allow users to put no limit on how long someone else can view their Snaps, though the content does still delete once it's closed.

"We’ve all felt the frustration of not being able to fully enjoy a Snap – even after replaying it – and we wanted to give you the option of allowing the recipient to enjoy your Snap as long as they’d like," the company wrote.

Snap also introduced a new tool that allows users to have their Snaps loop over and over until the recipient closes it.

This is not the first time that the company has played with the idea of getting rid of the time limit on Snaps. In 2015, it introduced paid Replays, where users could buy the ability to review content, though each Snap would only gets one replay. Last year it debuted Memories, allowing users to archive their own content.

The more obvious sign that Snap sees itself as more than just a disappearing messaging app is the fact that it changed its name and launched a hardware product last year. 

None of this should be surprising, as the company's earliest investor has said that he saw disappearing photos as the product, but not the vision of the company.

Snap went public at the beginning of April, closing out its first day of trading at $24.67, up 45 percent from its IPO price of $17. The company is currently trading at $23.28 a share, up 3.56 percent, but down nearly 5 percent since its debut. 

When the company reports its earnings on Wednesday, Wall Street is expecting revenue of $146.42 million on -2.33 EPS. 

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