Snapchat's Newest Feature Is A Blast From The Internet Past

ILLUSTRATED BY ABBIE WINTERS
Snapchat is unafraid of taking seemingly settled technology issues and trying things their own way. Witness Spectacles, a remix of Google's disastrous Google Glass project. Or the company itself, which replaces the old technology of begging the recipient to delete drunk texts you sent the night before.

The latest bit of that trend is that Snapchat is trying to revive the QR code. This Tumblr full of images of people scanning QR codes attests to just how popular they were in America. Strangely, they have taken off in China largely due to the popularity of WeChat. Snapchat already uses the technology in the form of the Snapcode, a personalized QR code that links to your account.

Now, Engadget reports that the tech giant is allowing users to create QR codes for individual websites. While that doesn't make sense at first, since the interface would be far clunkier than just pasting a link into the chat feature, it does make sense for brands. Snapchat has been dogged by the question of how to monetize their operation. That led to the Discover page, featuring media companies like Refinery29. Now, they'll have another feature to draw companies to the platform. That's especially relevant as they hurtle towards an IPO.

Snapchat is a more private platform than Twitter or Instagram, which neatly sidesteps the problem of branded content and harassment by simply not putting anything in public. Somehow, people are less likely to go off on a racist rant if they know that the general public can't see it. Also, you can't put yourself as Pepe on there as easily.

So now it'll build its platform another way. Founder and CEO Evan Spiegel looks more and more canny for turning down that $3 billion Facebook offer every day.

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