Snapchat's new developer platform that allows it to integrate with outside apps like Tinder, Postmates and Patreon, is going live this week.
Now daters on Tinder will be able to flirt with Bitmojis. Postmates will let people share delivery information to friends inside Snapchat.
Snapchat built four "kits" that will open the messaging and media app to outside developers. These types of developer tools are core to companies like Facebook, Twitter, Apple and Google, because they help drive innovation around their products and keep audiences in their ecosystems.
"Snap Kit will help Snapchatters tap into the best parts of other apps they love, and help those apps integrate some of Snapchat's experiences into their products," says a Snapchat spokeswoman in an e-mail statement.
Snapchat's platform will let people sign into participating apps using their Snapchat accounts. There's also a creative component to the platform that will allow developers to build features inside of Snapchat. Postmates is doing so.
Tinder is jumping on Bitmojis, the cartoonish emojis that people customize to look like themselves. So, now Tinder users on Snapchat will be able to message one other with their Bitmojis.
Patreon, the service for fans to contribute money to their favorite creators, built a bridge into Snapchat, so people on its app can share videos to Snapchat. The videos will display a Patreon logo, and they look similar to Snapchat Stories in that they are vertical video shot from mobile devices.
"The whole point of the integration is so a creator doesn't have to close one app and open another," says Brent Horowitz, Patreon's VP of business and corporate development. "It pushes video directly from Patreon to Snapchat."
The developer platform represents a departure for Snapchat, which has mainly been a cloistered experience since the app was founded in 2011. Users couldn't share their Snapchat messages or videos outside of the app, and they couldn't use outside services within Snapchat.
But Snapchat's private-club atmosphere has slowly opened up as the company recognized the need to appeal to wider audiences, brands and media.
Snapchat is still emphasizing security and privacy, though, and even took a swing at Facebook for the troubles it's had with its developer program. Facebook, of course, has had to overhaul its developer program this year, since Cambridge Analytica was accused of abusing the platform to influence global elections.
Before 2015, Facebook's developer program had a data-multiplying loophole that let third-parties sign up users and then access the user's data and friends' data, too.
Facebook has since discontinued the access to friend data. Snapchat promised not to engage in any similar data free-for-alls as it tries to maintain its image as a privacy-obsessed service.
"We have never offered a product like an open social graph," Snapchat says in its e-mail statement. "And we do not share or allow Snapchatters to share their own friend network information with third parties."