Snapchat is taking a move straight out of Google’s playbook with a new feature that adds restaurant reviews, reservation booking, and ride-hailing directly to snaps.
The feature is called context cards, and it allows Snapchat to surface information related to a particular restaurant or business when someone views a publicly-viewable Snap related to that place.
Now, when you view a Snap that’s part of an “Our Story,” Snaps that have contextual information available will have a “more” menu. Swipe up on these Snaps and you’ll see a feed of details related to that location, including business hours, contact information, ratings and reviews, and links to table-booking and ride hailing services.
The cards themselves are powered by a number of third-party companies that have teamed up with Snap on the feature. Initial partners include: Foursquare, Uber, Lyft, OpenTable, TripAdvisor, Resy, Michelin’s reservation service Booktable, and goop, which provides info from its city guides.
Not all of the services and information will display at once for every location, but Snap says the idea is to create a personalized feed that’s relevant to what each user might need at the time.
The content of the cards changes based on the location — a restaurant may have links to reviews and table-booking while a tourist attraction may have TripAdvisor reviews or Foursquare tips. It will also factor in more personalized features, like which ride-haling app you use (if you don’t have Uber installed, Snapchat will show links to Lyft).
For Snap, the feature shows just how much the company has moved to open up its platform, once notoriously closed off, in recent months.
With the advent of Story Search and Snap Maps, Snapchat has proved not just that Snaps are good for more than silly selfies, but that Snapchat is one of the best resources when you want to know what’s happening in a particular location. This was particularly evident in recent weeks as onlookers watched hurricanes and the shooting in Las Vegas unfold in near real-time via Snapchat.
Now,the company is looking to prove that it’s wealth of public-facing Snaps can be useful on a much more practical level. By adding business info, reservation booking, reviews, and other services directly to Snapchat, the company is effectively making the case that its users could bypass Google entirely for certain types of common searches.
And that’s a pretty powerful message.