Throughout the course of the year, photo-messaging platform Snapchat has undergone a series of changes and updates, and it has recently revealed that it is planning on creating several more.
Snapchat has been overhauling its app in a bid to win more users, and retain those considering leaving, by introducing such features as customisations for Bitmoji, an update to Snap Maps, integration of Giphy and a complete redesign of the app’s interface. It now plans to add a couple more to this list in the next few weeks.
The first of these changes is the introduction of group video calls within the app. This will allow users to make either video or audio calls with a group of their friends over the app. For a video call, the app will allow up to 16 users to conduct a call at one time, whereas for voice/audio calls, up to 32 participants can be involved. This is an expansion on the current voice and video calling feature, which was first rolled out in 2016, when it was a more simple one-on-one call no matter which type of call was being used. Snapchat has updated this feature as it is believed millions of calls are made over the app each day.
To access this feature, the user needs to enter a group chat, or create one. To start a video call, simply tap the video icon while in this chat, or the phone icon for a voice call. Each member of the group will be notified that they have been invited to take part in a call. Users will be informed about which friends have accepted the invitation and are participating in each call. Furthermore, users will still be able to access lenses and filters while on a video call, to add to the fun of the feature.
The other new feature in the pipeline is ‘Mentions’. This will allow users to tag their friends in snaps and videos added to the Stories section of the app. This is something that has been rumoured over the last month or so.
To tag a friend in a snap, users simply click to add text and start with the ‘@’ symbol, which has become synonymous with social media tagging. From there, the usernames of friends will begin to appear over the keyboard, with the user able to select the friend they wish to tag.
This feature is something that is already available on the same feature on main competitor network Instagram. According to Snapchat, this is a feature that social influencers and celebrities can be particularly enthusiastic about as it will give them an opportunity to easily include the handles of brands and companies that are sponsoring and promoting them.
It has been suggested that Facebook, which owns Instagram, will continue its pattern of copying features from Snapchat, as a recent analysis of Instagram code suggests that the app could soon be introducing its own version of video and voice calls from within the app.
Both the group video/voice call and Mentions features are set to be rolled out worldwide on Snapchat in the next few days.