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Snap is making it easier for people to watch Snapchat videos, even if they don’t have an account

Snap will finally let publishers embed Snapchat Stories on their websites.

A crowd of people hold smartphones up to record video Noam Galai / WireImage

Prepare to see more Snapchat videos outside of Snapchat.

Snap, the company behind Snapchat, is making it easier for users to share and watch Snapchat videos outside of the app, even if they don’t have an account.

Users can now send some Snapchat Stories — collections of videos and photos stitched together into a montage — to friends outside the app using email or text. Snapchat will create a link for each Story, and that link will redirect users to a video player at Snapchat.com, where they can watch the Story without logging in.

Not all Stories will be sharable in this way — just some of the more high-profile, publicly viewable Stories, which the company calls Our Stories, Search Stories and Official Stories, which are from celebrity users. People can also embed these Stories on third-party websites or blogs, similar to how tweets and Facebook posts are embeddable off-site.

Previously, users couldn’t share Stories from other users outside the app, and could only share their own Story by downloading it to their phone, which was more of a hassle.

The ability to more easily share outside of the app is a notable change for Snapchat, which has historically kept all of its content contained inside the app. There are some valid reasons for Snapchat to do this:

  • It could broaden the app’s audience. If Snapchat videos are suddenly showing up on news stories or other places online where you don’t need an account to see them, it might expose the app and business to new users who ultimately sign up.
  • It could elevate Snap’s standing among an older demographic of internet users. Snapchat already curates Stories around major news events, called Our Stories, but unless you are a Snapchat user (i.e. a young person), you wouldn’t see them. If Snapchat does a good job of curating these Stories and people share them more publicly, maybe it’ll change Snap’s reputation among older users.
  • It could encourage publishers and other influential users to create more Stories by offering them an expanded audience and a longer shelf life. These Stories still disappear from the app 24 hours after they’re posted, but they will live on outside the app for at least 24 days.

It’s worth keeping in mind, though, that bringing Snapchat content outside the app could have negative consequences, too. Twitter is a great example. Tweets appear on television news broadcasts or in online news stories all the time, which means that most people know what Twitter is.

But that scale doesn’t necessarily help the business. Since you can read every one of Donald Trump’s tweets without ever joining Twitter, you might not be inclined to sign up. And even though people see tweets all over the place, the company has never really turned that exposure into actual revenue, primarily because it doesn’t know much about the people who see those tweets on TV or online, which makes it hard to target them with ads.

Snap probably won’t need to worry about that — Snapchat’s most important feature is still private messaging, and for that you need a Snapchat account. Letting Stories survive outside the app might simply give Snapchat a chance to reach more potential users.

The new sharing features are available to Snapchat users who have the redesigned version of the app that the company showed off late last year. So far, the design only appears to be widely available in a few countries, including Australia and Canada.


This article originally appeared on Recode.net.

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