Snapchat is no longer just for disappearing pictures: The app’s latest update adds instant messages that vanish and live video calls.
Now, when you can swipe right on a friend’s name in your Snapchat inbox to start chatting. Once you leave the chat screen, messages that both you and your friend have seen will disappear.
A new icon will also show when a friend has Snapchat open — when they’re “Here” — and you’ll be able to press and hold that icon to chat face-to-face.
In a blog post, the Snapchat team writes that until today, Snapchat was missing presence: “There’s nothing like knowing you have the full attention of your friend while you’re chatting.”
This is the first big update since the company released Snapchat Stories, which lets you save photos for 24 hours in a “Story” that you can share with multiple friends, back in October. For those who’ve always believed that the app’s main purpose is for sexting, it’s easy to see how the new features just took things to the next level. Or, as the company hurdles towards a $US2 billion valuation and is likely looking for ways to monetise, you can imagine that instant chat features could come in handy for advertisers and brands, who could potentially use it to chat with consumers to offer deals or discounts.
Here’s the promo video for the update:
Here’s the full blog post:
Building Snapchat has taught us a lot about what makes conversation special. When we first started working on an application for sharing disappearing pictures, we had no idea how much we would learn. Our classmates were quick to point out that you could always take a screenshot. That led us to the notion of deletion by default — you keep what you want, and we’ll get rid of everything else!
We also learned that conversation feels better when it’s visual. So we decided to make sure that every time you launch Snapchat we take you straight to the camera. It’s the fastest way to capture and share a moment on your smartphone.
With our last product update, we honored the true nature of storytelling — every Story has a chronological order — a beginning, middle, and end. We built Stories to help Snapchatters create narratives and share them with all of their friends in just one tap.
But until today, we felt that Snapchat was missing an important part of conversation: presence. There’s nothing like knowing you have the full attention of your friend while you’re chatting.
We could not be more thrilled to announce Chat.
Swipe right on a friend’s name in your Snapchat inbox to start chatting. When you leave the chat screen, messages viewed by both you and your friend will be cleared — but either of you can always tap or screenshot to save anything you’d like to keep (addresses, to-do lists, etc.)!
We let you know when a friend is Here in your Chat so that you can give each other your full attention. And if you’re both Here, simply press and hold to share live video — and Chat face-to-face!
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