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Snapchat now does video chat and IM, with self-destruct still included

Sharif Sakr
05.01.14
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Snapchat, the photo messaging app beloved of cheeky monkeys everywhere, has just undergone a major transformation. Self-destructing messages are still at the core of what it does, but the iOS and Android apps are being updated today to also handle instant messaging and live video chats -- just swipe to the right from the main camera screen and you'll see a list of your friends, allowing you to chat with them using these more traditional methods.

Texts are wiped by default when you back out of the chat screen, except for any that you deliberately tap to make the app remember them. Video chats, meanwhile, are ephemeral by their very nature: A throbbing blue icon pops up to tell you when a friend is paying attention to your chat (as opposed to the general "online" status used by other messaging apps), and you press and hold this to open up a one-way video stream of your beautiful nakedness self. If your friend wants to, they can do the same in order to make it a two-way thing, and both sides can use gestures to quickly flip between their back- and front-facing cameras. Overall, these changes constitute a big expansion to what Snapchat can do, but they cleverly avoid changing what Snapchat is. The upgrade could well take the app to new heights, in which case Zuckerberg might just have to up his alleged offer to buy it out.

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