The 2014 Sony Pictures hack revealed emails sent between Snapchat cofounder and Sony Pictures CEO Michael Lynton. It shed light onto Spiegel’s business acumen, as well as his ambitions for the company. It also revealed several secretive acquisitions Snapchat made, the purpose of one remained unclear — today.
This week, Snapchat finally rolled out its long-awaited discovery feature, offering users a variety of curated editorial content from media companies including CNN, the Daily Mail and Vice. But the update has brought a slew of other features too — one of these being a new custom QR code to discovering profiles.
Users simply take a photo of someone’s QR code using the Snapchat camera, and it adds them. It’s a more visual way of interacting, without having to remember usernames.
Here’s how one looks:
But it looks like Snapchat didn’t develop this technology in-house. As TechCrunch reported in December 2014, the company had quietly acquired Scan.me earlier in the year, a startup specialising in QR code scanning and iBeacons. Users can create custom QR codes and link them to profiles using Scan.me’s platform — much like the functionality just added to Snapchat.
Leaked emails between Lynton and Snapchat executive Steve Hwang revealed that the company paid $US14 million in cash for Scan.me, $US33 million in Class B common stock and $US3 million in restricted stock units. That’s more than $US50 million all in all. The deal is, the email cautions, “super secret.” (Scan.me also continues to operate independently.)
We don’t know for sure that Snapchat’s new QR codes were based on the Scan.me’s tech — but it seems a pretty safe bet. So far, the early reception to it on Twitter has been roundly positive. Which is just as well, if it cost $US51 million.