Snapchat has unveiled the first major product update since its parent company's IPO, revealing it's adding a search function to the Stories feature of its app.
The move marks the messaging service's first foray into the search arena, with the feature poised to be rolled out to its 158-million-strong userbase in order let them search through a catalogue of public videos.
More than one million public Stories – which are chronological slideshows featuring videos and photos created by Snapchatters that disappear after 24-hours – will soon be viewable to all users.
Search is being unveiled in select US cities from today (31 March), and subscribers can search for Stories by topic, with content viewable around different themes like sports, entertainment, fashion and other genres around which people have uploaded publicly.
Snapchat is categorising stories using machine learning which can read things like caption text, times and other visual elements. Posts will only be drawn from users who willingly submit photos and videos to be considered for the app's 'Our Stories' feature, rendering them public.
The feature will run in addition to the Our Stories which is curated by human editors, as well as Publisher Stories and Shows from media partners in the Snapchat Discover section.
The move from Snap comes as rival Facebook has adopted a slew of its primary camera features and temporary messages tools.
While it appears the company has no plans to monetise the search element of Stories, the bit back could could help Snap secure extra ad dollars in the future by providing another space to slot ads.
Since expanding its ad offering last year the company has rolled out an API and starting serving up ads between friend's Stories within a user's personal feed as well as in Discover.
Earlier this week a report from Ampere Analysis claimed the platform's hold on the market means its poised to become more popular among advertisers by 2020 than AOL or Yahoo, however the study implied Facebook and Google will still pull in the lion's share of investment.