Snapchat adds chat, video calls

The features are out today and include automatic wiping of Snapchat conversations when the talk is over.

Don Reisinger
Former CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger


Snapchat just got chattier.

When users update the picture-sharing app, they'll find an ability to chat and to make video calls.

Snapchat has become a wildly popular application for sending snapshots to others. Once opened, an image disappears from Snapchat in 10 seconds or less -- never to be seen again unless someone has taken a screenshot.

According to Snapchat, its new chatting feature works in the same way: users chat with others for as long as they like, but as soon as they leave the chat screen, the entire conversation is wiped. The feature does, however, leave open the possibility of saving the chat via screenshot or by tapping on it to save.

The addition of chatting capabilities puts Snapchat in direct competition with other messaging apps, including WeChat, Facebook's WhatsApp, and BlackBerry's BBM. Unlike those services, Snapchat has committed to erasing the conversation, and that may help it stand out.

The addition of video chatting to Snapchat is not much of a surprise. Video chatting on mobile communications apps has become somewhat common. The feature also falls in line with Snapchat's fire-and-forget mentality, allowing people to communicate and then end all evidence of the conversation.

Snapchat's updated app is available now. Here's a brief video showing off some of its latest functionality: