For those of you already on Snapchat, you were most likely awoken this morning to a creatively crafted story from the Snapchat team. The story announced new features such as chatting with friends (the messages disappear after some time, of course) and video chatting. If you haven’t already seen the video, you can view it below.
As Snapchat demonstrates in their video, users can now send messages through the app. Swipe right on a friend’s name, and automatically begin connecting with them. In true Snapchat style, however, the messages disappear after exiting out of the conversation. To save messages, simply click on the text and the message will stay for future conversations. To delete the message later on, just click on it again.
Live video chatting is arguably the best new feature in the update. Although users could send recorded videos before the update, they can now have live conversations. The fact that Android and IOS users can video chat with each other at random times through the app is what makes users most excited for this element of the update. To start video chatting, swipe right on a friend’s name as if you were sending them a message. In the bottom right hand corner, you will see a yellow circle that will turn blue when your friend is online at the same time. Hold down the blue circle to start chatting!
Lastly, you can now send photos and videos through Snapchat that were previously taken and recorded, instead of having to send all live snaps.
These are the three main updates to the app. They have also slightly updated the visuals and graphics.
After updating my Snapchat app, I’ve noticed glitches with video chatting (and have heard a few complaints from others as well). However, I’ve found that small glitches are somewhat common upon first updating certain apps and these should be ironed out quickly.
As for the use of these new features in the future, I am somewhat skeptical that messaging and video chatting through Snapchat will catch on. The messaging option is said to compete with apps like Whatsapp and Viber and, of course, good ol’ text messaging. The live video chat option will surely compete with Facetime, but mostly with Skype and other free video chat apps. With so many options available, it will no doubt seem daunting to many to add other messaging options into the mix.
The Snapchat updates have a ton of potential, and might very well be the next big thing. However, people thought that about Instagram Direct as well, and Instagram users seem to have ignored to update completely (aside from crazed teen fans sending pictures of themselves to celebrities).