Back in June, at its 2020 Partner Summit, Snapchat previewed its upcoming 'Snapchat Minis', which are essentially micro-versions of full apps, built within Snapchat.
As you can see here, Snapchat Minis provide a new way for app developers to reach Snap's audience, providing enclosed experiences within the app, yet still built on Snap's platform. That means that rather than having to prompt users to download their own apps, businesses can replicate similar experiences in these mini-versions.
And this week, the first Snapchat Mini is going live, with Headspace launching its new mindfulness and meditation tool.
As reported by Mashable, the new experience enables users to engage in guided meditation with friends, direct from the chat screen.
As per Mashable:
"Users can access the Mini in chat by clicking on the rocket icon at the bottom of the screen, which initiates a Headspace session within Snapchat that the person or people they're chatting with can also click to join. Once a user clicks into a session, there are six three-to-four minute meditations to choose from: “Just Breathe,” “Get out of a funk,” “Kick the panic,” “Be nice to you,” “Pressure to succeed,” and “Me time."
Once you enter a session with a friend, you'll be able to see that they are participating throughout, with their Bitmoji character visible at the bottom left of screen.
The idea is that by enabling people to participate in things like meditation together, it could ease the fear of trying something new, which could then prompt even more people to try the experience. Users can also chat within the experience, though that pauses the process - the idea is more aligned with knowing that your friend is joining in, as opposed to prompting discussion in the mini app.
Aside from being a significant technical advance for Snap, the addition is also crucially important right now, with many people dealing with a range of mental health challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Job losses, lockdowns and anxiety over the worsening situation are becoming more challenging to deal with every day, and while we wait, and hope, for some form of relief, the pressure of everyday life can be tough, especially without the capacity to get in-person reassurance from friends and family.
The new tool could provide a key outlet for Snapchat's young audience, while the addition of participating in such with friends could help reduce the stigma of acknowledging such concerns, and seeking out some form of assistance.
The addition of Snap Minis, meanwhile, will help Snapchat open up its platform to outside contributions, which could help it build a larger eco-system to better compete with Facebook and other social apps. Snap claims to reach 90% of all 13 to 24-year-olds in the US, more than Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger combined. And while that seems extremely high, the fact is that Snapchat does have audience reach that many developers and businesses would love to connect with. Snap Minis may provide another way to do that, while also building on Snapchat's offerings in-app.
Users can access the new Headspace Mini from within their chats from today, while you can also access the new experience by searching 'Headspace' in the search bar, or within Snapchat's 'Here for You' mental health portal.