Reddit’s new Discover tab is the social media future of the platform

Reddit today introduced a new Discover tab feature for the official Reddit iOS and Android apps. The new feature manages images, GIFs, and videos in a scrollable grid to help Reddit users find new content and communities they might be interested in, in a way reminiscent of Instagram or Pinterest’s explore page.

The Discover tab replaces the Communities/Subscriptions tab in both iOS and Android as the second icon at the bottom, represented by a compass icon. While this means you can’t now access a list of your subscribed communities from the bottom, don’t worry – you can still get to your subscribed community list by swiping in a drawer from the left (and yes, r/all is still there). There’s also a new slideover from the right for your profile, where you can change your online status, view your posts, and more.

“The corpus of content and communities on Reddit is quite large,” said Jason Costa, Reddit’s product director for community and content. Costa described Reddit as traditional with a strong emphasis on text-based expression, but Costa believes there was an opportunity to contextualize the rich multimedia content within communities. †[I]In particular, there’s not really a place on Reddit where you can easily discover great video content, great image content, and great GIF content,” Costa said. Reddit reviewed the use of the Communities button, and Costa said that’s how the location of the Discover tab came about. Since the profile slideover from the links already existed, the subscription list and favorites have been moved there. “We think the community drawer is a real improvement over the existing tab,” Costa said.

The Discover tab helps you find new communities using images/videos. At the top you can scroll through the topics from left to right.
Image: Reddit

“Personally, I think this will help users discover and join more communities. And I think both the old and new Redditors will find really interesting and compelling content that resonates with them.” Costa said. In testing, users who tried the Discover tab were subscribed to at least one additional community versus those who didn’t use it “which is exactly what we hoped for,” explains Costa, “they would discover, and… the breadth of the content community corpus on the site. So you know, that alone, as a signal, gets us really excited because you know what old and new users are going to do with it [it]†

The Discover tab feels like a replacement for r/all, but it turns out that the long-standing cumulative subreddit of all subreddits remains. Costa confirmed that Discover is not a replacement for r/all and that they will continue to coexist, saying, “I think Discover tab is quite a unique and differentiated experience.” The Discover tab adapts to your current interests, so if you have subscribed to many football subs and spend a lot of time in baseball subs, you will see more sports related content in the Discover tab.

The old Community tab vs the new Discovery tab

Finally, regarding third-party Reddit clients like Apollo, Relay, and BaconReader, it looks like the Discover feature isn’t going to make it: “You know, I think we’re thinking more broadly this year, what our developer platform strategy looks like.” But specifically for the Discover tab, there are no plans at this time to make an API available,” Costa said.

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