Snapchat adds instant messaging and video calls

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Apple’s FaceTime service is getting another rival — courtesy of an update from disappearing messages service Snachat.

The update will introduce instant messaging and video call functions — opening up more possibilities for users wanting to have private conversations.

As with existing Snapchat messages, conversations won’t be stored on users’ phones by default. Since some conversations are worth saving, however, the update will allow users to manually save them.

As Snapchat notes:

Building Snapchat has taught us a lot about what makes conversation special. 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!

The update makes the Chat function accessible by swiping right on a friend’s name in the Snapchat inbox. The video Chat face-to-face feature is accessed by way of a new button at the button of the screen. Hit this button during an active Chat session and you will call the other person. If they hit the button as well, you will see both ends of the call at the same time.

As of this writing, the update featuring Chat and Chat face-to-face options is not yet available for download in the App Store, although it will be added later today.

What do you think of Snapchat’s approach to applying the disappearing messages formula to both instant messaging and video calls?

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About the author

Luke DormehlLuke Dormehl is a UK-based journalist and author, with a background working in documentary film for Channel 4 and the BBC. He is the author of The Formula: How Algorithms Solve All Our Problems, And Create More and The Apple Revolution, both published by Penguin/Random House. His tech writing has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, Techmeme, and other publications. He'd like you a lot if you followed him on Twitter.

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