Snapchat opened up its platform to developers Thursday, allowing other companies to integrate some of Snapchat’s tools into their own apps and services. Some of the first to make use of these new tools include Pandora, Patreon, Tinder, Eventbrite and Giphy.
Snap Kit, as the collection of tools is officially called, includes four different components: With Login Kit, third-party services will be able to offer users the ability to log in with their Snapchat credentials, similar to the “log in with Facebook” button available in many apps today; Creative Kit brings Snapchat-style camera stickers and effects to third-party apps; Bitmoji Kit does the same for Bitmoji stickers; Story Kit can be used to integrate publicly-available Snapchat Stories into other apps and services.
For instance, Pandora is using Snap Kit to give its users the ability to share songs directly on Snapchat, either directly with friends or as part of their Snapchat stories. Recipients can then listen to the full songs for free after watching a video ad. Patreon, which creators can use for fan-centric subscription services, allows creators to post content to Snapchat directly from its own app. And Tinder users will be able to use Snapchat’s Bitmoji while chatting in the dating app.
These kind of third-party integrations echo similar partnerships between Facebook and third-party developers. Facebook’s developer tools came under scrutiny after the Cambridge Analytica scandal, which highlighted how developers could abuse these tools to gather huge amounts of user data.
That’s why Snap decided to limit the amount of data it is making available to developers. One example: Services who use Login Kit to simplify sign-up and login functionality only have access to a user’s Snapchat name as well as their avatar, if the user chooses to share the latter. They won’t be able to get any data on a user’s Snapchat friends.
The flip side of this more privacy-conscious approach is that app developers can’t easily tap into Snapchat’s user base to grow their own services, which could depress interest in the platform. Snap also announced Thursday that it would pre-screen each and every developer, signalling that Snap Kit will be a much more exclusive developer program.