With a bunch of new features, including audio- and video-calling, the new and improved version of Snapchat (called Chat 2.0) released this week clearly intends to compete with the likes of WhatsApp and Facebook messenger. The app started off with a defined focus on sending pictures and short video clips to friends, but has been looking at evolving since last year when it introduced its chat feature.
To save you precious time in figuring out how the latest overhaul works, here’s a rundown of the major new features.
1. Audio and video notes
Earlier in Snapchat, if you wanted to video chat with someone you had to hold down the button and this was only possible when your friend was online too. Now you can simply send video notes to the person you want to chat with by holding the video button and she can reply whenever she is free.
The same applies to the call button; if your pal is not available you can send a voice note by holding down the call button.
2. Audio and video calling
Snapchat made the video and audio calling a lot like other messaging applications. You have to press the video call or audio call button and voila! There are a few very nifty features in the Snapchat calling system, though. If your friend is available but can't talk, she can just choose to listen instead of joining the call. Another great feature is when you move your phone away from your face the call will automatically go on speaker mode.
3. Making plans just got easier
While you are chatting with your friend you might decide where you are going to meet. You can copy the address from Google maps and paste it here so it will act like a pin. Even if you are sharing the contact of someone it will act a phone number instead of plain text.
4. You can add stickers while chatting
Recently, Snapchat acquired a startup called BitStrips for $100 million. Now with the latest update, you can add stickers into the chat. Right now there are about 200 stickers available in the 'Stickers' menu.
Now you can send multiple photos which are in your gallery or camera roll in a chat. You just have to select all the photos by clicking the gallery icon. Also, while you are on a call you can send photos. They will overlay the call for a while with the chat window.
6. ‘Auto-advance’ stories
After you finish watching one of your friend’s stories, the next one will play automatically. Snapchat is calling this feature 'Auto-advance'. If you don't want to watch a particular story you can swipe left to skip to the next one (swiping left to reject, sounds familiar?).
7. A more seamless experience
Snapchat has made it easy to switch between audio call, video call, text and snaps. You can do it on the fly for communication to remain seamless.
8. Revised terms
Snapchat has over 100 million active users, but that’s just a fraction of the user base of the likes of Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. Messenger is reportedly adding a payment system in their chat apart from the features like 'Secret mode' which might be hinting towards encryption. WhatsApp is also adding a bunch of features like encryption and document sharing.