More Chat For Snapchat With Mobile Messaging, Video Calls

Snapchat updated its app with new features including the ability to message users in text conversations and have impromptu video chats instantly.

More Chat For Snapchat With Mobile Messaging, Video Calls

Snapchat adds more "chat" in its latest update, leaving selfie-takers around the world speechless.

A video posted to Snapchat's blog Thursday shows off the new app. New features let you text inside Snapchat for the first time, and — as always — once you leave a conversation, the messages disappear. What's better, the app allows you to video call a friend at a moment's notice, even mid-conversation.

Plus, switch between cameras by dragging your finger. Try swiping right on a friend's name to start chatting.

Until now, Snapchat mainly let users share pictures and videos, which disappeared after they were viewed by a friend.

"But until today, we felt that Snapchat was missing an important part of conversation: presence. There's nothing like knowing you have the full attention of your friend while you're chatting." (Via Snapchat)

The service claims a ton, or "about 700 million Snaps" are sent every day, as reported to The Verge. That far surpasses the number of photos shared on other services such as Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and its recently acquired WhatsApp, which was an idea worth $19 billion.

Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel sat down for an in-depth interview with The Verge. The site wondered if "the new Snapchat offer[s] enough of an incentive for loyal followers to switch" from WhatsApp, Skype or iMessage.

Spiegel explained, "If we can always try and emphasize how important it is for both people to be [in a conversation] at the same time, that would be a win for us — that would be the holy grail." (Via The Verge)

But The Wall Street Journal's Brian Fitzgerald isn't impressed yet. He's seen Snapchat's new features before and thinks this will continue the trend of all apps converging to have the same redundant features.

"The risk is that with stodgy old text chats, Snapchat becomes just another mobile-messaging app like WhatsApp, Facebook's Messenger, and on and on. As each adds emoji and multimedia and stickers and other features, they all start to blend." (Via The Wall Street Journal)

And that's not a bad observation. A few months ago, Instagram introduced Instagram Direct, allowing users to share private photos and videos with a group. Twitter's video-sharing app Vine also introduced its private messaging feature recently.

Would you reach for Snapchat instead of your messaging app? Will instant, impromptu video calls catch on? Let us know what you think!