Snap To Launch WeChat Mini-Program Analog ‘Minis’

Snap Inc, the company behind popular social media app SnapChat is to launch a new function inside of the app’s chat section. Snap Minis are lightweight third-party programs that live inside the app’s chat section, which users can quickly pull up alongside friends without having to deal with switching apps. The function resembles WeChat’s mini program, a function that became wildly popular in China to pay bills, buy food and gather information.

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Minis live alongside games inside a keyboard tab on the user’s chat screen. When a user taps one of them, the Mini goes full-screen and a user can complete a task like ordering movie tickets, comparing class schedules, studying a flashcard deck or going through a guided meditation. Like Snap Games, Snapchat’s mini programs are built on HTML5 and can be quickly called up without users waiting for a download to finish.

Seven minis will be launched first. They include an app to coordinate your schedule at the next Coachella music festival; a mini version of Headspace to meditate and send encouraging messages to friends; Movie Tickets by Atom for choosing showtimes, picking seats, and buying tickets; and Tembo, which lets students create flash card decks for studying.

Snap CEO Evan Spiegel said in an interview with The Verge that Minis would help the company extend its reach to include e-commerce, with more social shopping experiences that let friends browse together.