Snapchat opens its doors to third-party apps, keeps privacy first

On Thursday, June 14, Snapchat officially launched its new platform for third-party developers. Known as Snap Kit, developers can now integrate Snapchat features into their own apps — while also keeping user data safe.

Snap Kit is separated into four different integration options — which are each their own separate kits. With Creative Kit, users can integrate stickers, links, and filters from other apps into the Snapchat camera. For example with Postmates, one of Snapchat’s launch partners, you will be able to snap friends with a Postmates sticker that shows the estimated time your food is supposed to arrive. If you and your friends can’t decide on where to eat, you can also snap them the best options nearby.

Another API will let you use your Bitmoji avatar inside other apps, like Tinder‘s messaging feature, and the last API will let developers use public Snaps (user photos and videos) to create themed Stories on a third-party app or website. Snap tipped its hand on the APIs a few months ago, pushing some of the details live to the app early, but hasn’t commented on them until now.

Another option is Story Kit that allows third-party apps to embed Snapchat Stories into their own websites. Apps will then be able to share any public Stories that relate to their audience based on time, captions, locations, and more.

With Login kit, you can use your Snapchat account as a way to login into apps which also brings along your Bitmoji. But when it comes to logging into different apps, Snapchat made it clear that user data is safe. You’re only asked for your Snapchat Display Name and Bitmoji avatar (which is optional) when signing into other apps rather than more personal information like your email or phone number. The company also doesn’t share demographic information or friends list with third parties. The Snapchat login option could also help retain existing users. If you rely on your Snapchat account to get into other apps, you probably won’t delete it.

The moves should, in theory, help Snapchat grow its brand with people who don’t use the app. If people start seeing Stories on third-party websites, it could help encourage more sign-ups, or at the very least help people understand what Snapchat does. (This has worked to varying degrees with Twitter — tweets are everywhere.)

“We’re always looking for more ways to bring Snapchat into the world and the world into Snapchat,” Snap Inc. vice president of product Jacob Andreou said about the news, which actually preceded a 2.1 percent bump in Pandora’s stock Thursday morning after the announcement.

Snap plans to manually review all API partners. “Any future third-party Snap Kit app integration submitted to us will need to go through a review and approval process to make sure we know how their integration will work,” a company spokesperson wrote in an email.

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