Snapchat brings Bitmoji widgets to your home screen

The popular app wants to make it quicker to chat with friends.

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Snapchat is expanding its reach on your phone.

Oscar Gutiérrez/CNET

Snapchat wants even more real estate on your phone.

The disappearing photo app, owned by parent company Snap, on Tuesday launched a quicker way to start chatting with your friends on the app.

With Snapchat's Bitmoji widget, you can pick a few friends and see their avatars right from the "Today" screen on iOS and the home screen on Android phones. Tap on those avatars and you can instantly begin chatting with them.

A Snap spokeswoman confirmed the new feature.

The release comes as Facebook, Snapchat's biggest rival, continues its barrage of cloning Stories, one of Snapchat's marquee features. It lets users post a string of videos and photos that disappear after 24 hours. Facebook has added a similar feature to its Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger apps, and is testing it on Facebook's main app in Ireland. So while Facebook focuses on Stories, it looks like Snap is looking to build out other features.

Snap, which went public earlier this month, bought Bitstrips, Bitmoji's maker, last year. The app lets you create personalized emojis.

To add the widgets to an iPhone, swipe right from your home screen to get to the "Today" screen, where you'll see your widgets. Scroll down to edit and add Snapchat. Snapchat Best Friends with Bitmoji will then pop up on the Today screen. For Android, press and hold on an empty area of the home page. Select widgets, add Snapchat, and choose up to four friends.

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