Snapchat takes a YouTube turn by adding public search features

Snapchat is taking a step towards becoming a short-form, mobile version of YouTube by adding a new search tool that lets you browse through over a million public stories from the comfort of your smartphone.

For some time users have been able to post to a public Our Story feed as well as the private My Story option that only your friends can see. Our Story is designed to create curated highlights of big events, like music festivals or sports games, and now those stories are going to be searchable.

Snapchat says it's applying some "advanced machine learning" so you can look for anything from puppies to places with a few taps. It also sounds like some of the curation process will be automated too, so content from users can be uploaded and filtered more quickly.

So, when you're bored of everything your friends are posting, you can search for Snapchat Stories around the theme of Easter, or posted down at your local bar, if there are enough Snapchatters there at the time.

Eventually, you could search by background music or caption, if the algorithms get smart enough. You probably won't see the Search for Stories feature appear just yet in your own app though - Snapchat is rolling out the option slowly, starting in a select number of cities in the US.

It makes a refreshing change to be able to report on a new feature Snapchat is adding rather than an existing Snapchat feature that Facebook is trying to rip off - but for the time being Mark Zuckerberg and his team haven't got around to following suit.

David Nield
Freelance Contributor

Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, on TechRadar you'll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables. Working to ensure our breaking news coverage is the best in the business over weekends, David also has bylines at Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as being many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.