Snapchat introduces video chat and text messaging capability

1 May 2014

Snapchat has undergone its biggest change since its launch with the addition of the ability of chatting through video and the option of responding to a person’s Snapchat message by text only.

On its blog, Snapchat said they felt their app was lacking the ‘presence’ among users compared with some of its other competitors, such as WhatsApp.

It would initially appear that the key focus on the future of the service will be on the ability to chat through messaging only, whereas before a user would be required to send a picture each time they wanted to send a message.

The chat system works by swiping right on a friend’s name in a user’s Snapchat inbox to start chatting and when the person leaves the chat screen, the messages viewed by both the user and his or her friend are deleted.

Understandably, given the app’s focus on its ability to self-destruct messages according to a set timer, any messages will be cleared from the app, but both parties will have the ability to tap or take a screenshot to save messages.

“Building Snapchat has taught us a lot about what makes conversation special,” said the blog post. “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!”

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic