Snapchat adds more feathers to its bow to take on WhatsApp and Facebook
Snapchat is to add video calls and text chat to its photo sharing application for iPhone and Android, bringing it into closer competition with the likes of Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp.
The app lets users send photos and videos which are then deleted after a pre-determined period of time (unless you take a screenshot). This ‘self-destruct’ principle will be applied to text chats, which are deleted once both parties leave the chat screen.
“Until today, we felt that Snapchat was missing an important part of conversation: presence,” says Snapchat. “There’s nothing like knowing you have the full attention of your friend while you’re chatting.”
Snapchat video calls
To initiate a chat, users swipe right on a friend’s name in their Snapchat inbox and if both parties are viewing a chat, a video call can be started.
“We let you know when a friend is Here in your Chat so that you can give each other your full attention,” adds Snapchat. “And if you’re both Here, simply press and hold to share live video – and Chat face-to-face!”
Snapchat was developed in 2011 by a group of Stanford University and its rapid rise in popularity has been attributed to ‘sexting’, although many users enjoy sending photos of a tamer nature as well.
Late last year, its founders reportedly turn down a $3 billion takeover offer from Facebook, which is concerned that users, particularly those with smartphones, are bypassing the social network to communicate and send photos.
This fear was one of the main reasons Facebook bought Instagram for £630 million in 2012 and the popularity of WhatsApp for text conversations fuelled Mark Zuckerberg’s firm’s £11.4 billion takeover of WhatsApp in February.
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