Popular photo messaging app Snapchat has introduced new features, including direct messaging, to place it in direct competition with Facebook-owned service WhatsApp.
Features allowing instant messages and video calls are the latest additions to the app, with the company announcing that it is “putting the chat into Snapchat”. To access the text service, users simply swipe right on the desired recipient’s name and the app navigates to a new screen. The video calling service is integrated with this feature, and comes into play when the circle icon at the bottom left of the screen turns blue. Once this is pressed, users will have activated the FaceTime-style system.
These new features will remain similar to the rest of the service, maintaining the company’s reputation management strategy of being somewhat momentary; messages will, like the photos, be permanently deleted once users navigate away from the screen. However, messages can be saved by tapping the conversation, or a screenshot can always be taken.
In a blog post, the company has said:
“Until today, we felt that Snapchat was missing an important part of conversation.”
As well as the introduction of new features, Snapchat has updated the layout of the rest of the app, giving it a brand new feel.
Snapchat has emerged as the fastest growing social media platform amongst teenagers, and this latest initiative comes in the wake of Facebook’s recent updates for its Messenger service, which is also set to include video calls.