30/03/2016 3:53 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:26 AM IST

8 Ways In Which Snapchat Just Got Better

FILE - In this Thursday, Oct. 24, 2013, file photo, Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel poses for a photo in Los Angeles. Tax-filing season is turning into a nightmare for thousands of employees working at companies tricked into relinquishing tax documents exposing people’s incomes, addresses and Social Security numbers to scam artists. In fact, in a Feb. 28, 2016, post on its corporate blog, Snapchat revealed that its payroll department had been duped by an email impersonating Spiegel. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

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.

5. Photos

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

The company has updated their terms of service and privacy policy. The new 'Terms of Service' specifies the 'Rights You Grant To Us' section saying your personal snaps will be available for limited distribution and service enhancement. However for live, local and crowdsourced material, the company may use it for creating content for media distribution without any payment to you.

The new privacy policy update details usage of cookies, how long your live or crowdsourced content remain with Snapchat, the control you have over your information and how your snaps are added to live stories.

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.

Contact HuffPost India

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