Snap Inc. said Friday that its Snapchat messaging app would add an option for users to search through photos and videos that users have posted to the public.
The move came days after larger rival Facebook Inc. stepped up efforts to encourage users to take more photos and edit them with digital stickers that show the influence of Snapchat.
Snapchat will enable users to search for photos and videos known as "Snaps" posted to the "Our Story" option on the app, by creating new "Stories" using machine learning technology, the company said in a blog post.
The "Our Story" option is derived from Snap's widely copied "Stories" feature that is a slideshow of user content that disappears after 24 hours.
"Our Story" allows users to post their Snaps as part of a larger public collection, which users will be able to search through with the latest update.
For instance, users can use the search feature to find "Snaps" related to events such as local basketball games and topics such as puppies.
The search feature, which was rolled out in some cities Friday, is an addition to curated "Stories," where public "Snaps" about major events like Wimbledon or the Coachella music festival already appear.
Snapchat popularized the sharing of digitally decorated photographs on social media, especially among teenagers, but faces intense competition from larger Facebook and Facebook-owned Instagram.
Users will now be able to search for over 1 million "Stories" on Snapchat, Snap said, making the app more accessible.
Snap's shares were up 1.5 percent in afternoon trading, while Facebook's stock was down marginally.