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Snapchat's Vurb purchase will make its existing features even stronger

Published by Business Insider on Wed, 17 Aug 2016

This story was delivered to BI Intelligence Apps and Platforms Briefingsubscribers. To learn more and subscribe, please click here.Snapchat, the popular ephemeral photo-sharing app, is acquiring search and recommendation app Vurb for roughly $110 million, according to The Information. While specifics surrounding Snapchats intentions with the purchase are unknown, it's likely that Vurb will help bolster Snapchats messaging and search features, facilitating the use of image search to surface recommendations to users.The Vurb app provides mobile users with a card-based contextual search engine that combines web search with tools from apps and services into a single experience. Search results are provided as cards, which include relevant information such as open times, locations, and products, which can then be shared with friends, cutting out multiple toggling between screens.The acquisition of Vurb, as well as Snapchats emphasis on the camera section of its app, puts it in a strong position to expand into features like visual search.Discovery is already an important part of the Snapchat experience. Users are accessing Snapchats Discovery section increasingly to view content from brands and celebrities. By improving its ability to recommend brands and products to users, Snapchat could begin threatening other search engines' market share.Snapchat is not reliant on the phones native camera. While other social media apps are reliant on the native phone camera, Snapchat forces consumers to use the apps camera. The introduction of Memoriesthe apps smart camera rollcould begin drawing users away from their phones native photo folders, deepening users commitment to the app.Snapchat has been aggressively hiring engineers that specialize in object recognition. And although other tech companies such as Facebook, Google, and Microsoft are all making headway in this regard, Snapchats primary use case as a photo-sharing app may enable it to control greater mindshare. Cameras are intrinsically tied to the smartphone user experience. As the technology used to recognize objects advances, it makes sense that the camera-as-a-platform market will begin to gain traction. This will provide the easiest form of content and discovery for both consumers and brands. For this reason, there is a massive value potential for photo-focused apps, like Snapchat, to grab mindshare early on in this space.To receive stories like this one directly to your inbox every morning, sign up for the Apps and Platforms Briefing newsletter.Click here to learn more about how you can gain risk-free access today.Join the conversation about this story
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