Snapchat rolled out its biggest update yet on Thursday, introducing new text and video chatting features into the photo-sharing app. The popular app is now hoping to dominate all forms of communication instead of just pictures, though the emphasis is still on sending quick messages that automatically delete when you’re done.
Open the new Snapchat app and you’ll see the same familiar launch screen, which brings you straight into your camera’s viewfinder. Swipe to the right from this start screen, however, and you’ll find a new list of contacts. Put your finger on a friend’s name and swipe again to open a chat where you can send off text messages that self-destruct when you leave the conversation. If you need to save some important information, like a phone number or address, you can tap on it or just snap a screenshot.
Things really get interesting once you and your friend are both chatting at the same time. When the small yellow button changes color from yellow to blue you can launch a video chat by holding your finger down on it. Your screen will instantly show a live feed of your friend’s camera, while a smaller bubble shows your own face. To switch from selfie to your rear camera, just drag your thumb to the top of the screen. To end the video chat just lift your finger off the display.
With today’s update, Snapchat is making the jump from a niche messaging app to a one-stop-shop for all your communication needs. The upstart company seems determined to take on Facebook Messenger, Apple FaceTime and Google Hangouts all at once, and considering Snapchat’s massive popularity it may just come out on top.