Snapchat has been somewhat out of the limelight of late, but now the company that rejected a $3 billion offer from Facebook has introduced two new features for its users: private messaging and video calls.
“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. We could not be more thrilled to announce Chat,” the company writes in a blog post.
To chat with a friend you simply swipe right on their name in your inbox and a chat window is pulled up. Messages are kept ephemeral, however, since they are deleted when the chat screen is closed. That said, either party can either tap to save or take a screenshot to keep information, such as addresses or to-list items, permanently.
The update hasn’t arrived in the App Store or Google Play yet, but when it does it will give the company’s estimated 40 million users a new way to connect that is much like other messaging apps, but with a Snapchat (ephemeral) twist.
Snapchat is by no means the first, or last, app to add messaging. Instagram introduced its own private chat feature last December, while fellow video app Vine followed suit last month. Twitter’s Direct Message feature was almost hidden away from users as the company focused on monetizing timelines, but it last year it added photo support and made DMs prominent inside its mobile app and Web service.
Facebook, on the other hand, has taken a different approach. It is removing private messaging from its main app, putting the focus on its standalone Facebook Messenger service instead — not to mention that it also acquired WhatsApp in a deal that could be worth as much as $19 billion.