Snapchat continues to make a dent in the social networking world with enhanced features, user-specific options and overall smooth functionality.
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In 2011, 22-year-old Evan Spiegel pitched his app idea in front of his Stanford product design class and got completely shut down. They told him that no one would use it, and if they did, it would solely be for sexting. Two years later, Facebook offered him $3 billion for his multimillion-user app called Snapchat.
Here’s the basic concept: You take a picture or video, write a caption if you wish, set a timer on it and send it to your friends. Snapchat searches your contacts or Facebook friends to pull up a list of choices. After your friend sees your snap, it’s hypothetically gone forever.
Although the concept is simple, Snapchat has evolved into so much more than a photo-sharing app. It’s become a social staple for Generation Y. Some people even use it to have full-blown conversations when they add text to their snap.
Snapchat was the second-most-downloaded free iPhone app of 2013 and its estimated 30 million active monthly users send more than 400 million snaps a day. That activity surpasses photo sharing on both Instagram and Facebook. Since its launch, not only has the number of Snapchat users grown exponentially, but each update brings with it new features.
Snapchat has added the option to replay videos, add filters, enlarge text and tell a full 24-hour story. To enable these options, go to Settings and hit Manage. There you can toggle between your sharing capabilities. And if you’re having a big weekend, share each snap as your Snapchat Story so your friends can see a chronological reel of what you’ve been up to.
In May 2014, Snapchat’s newest update introduced two completely different features: text message-like chat and live video chatting. The interface change makes it easier to see your connections by consolidating all of your communication under one tab labeled with your friends’ names. Simply swipe the name of a friend and begin chatting with him in a text-messaging format. Your characters aren’t limited like they are in a Snapchat picture, so you can say more here if you need to. Click the yellow camera button next to the chat box and send a picture within the convo.
Our favorite update, however, is definitely the live chat. Once you and your friend are both in the conversation, the little yellow camera button will turn blue, indicating you’re both available to video chat. Press the blue button and hold your finger to the screen for as long as you want to keep the live video chat open. You can drag your finger to the top to turn the camera around and show your friend what you’re looking at. To put the camera back on you, simply drag your finger back to the bottom of the screen. There’s no waiting for the video to dial in or for your friend to answer the call. You just press, hold and talk. The sound and video quality is pretty good and we’re sure it’ll only improve over time.
With all these updates, it’s easy to see why Snapchat is such a popular app; it holds every form of communication in a simple and easy design. Spiegel wasn’t easily blinded by the dollar signs when Facebook tried to buy the app for $3 billion last year. The college dropout seems to be waiting for a better offer. But what’s better? Perhaps something more along the lines of $19 billion, the price at which Facebook successfully bought WhatsApp in February of 2014. We’ll just have to wait and see.
Reviewed: May 09, 2014 | Yelena GalstyanAlso featured on: Mobile App Standouts from SXSW 2014, Also featured on: A Look Back at the 10 Best iPhone Apps of 2013, Also featured on: Snapchat and Dropbox Apologize, Study Finds Android Apps Are Developed Fastest + Other App News, Also featured on: Smartphones Can Track Stats with the Fitbit App, Wechat Competitor Pays For Users + Other App News, Also featured on: Vine Launches Vanity URLs, Snapchat Adds Replays + Other App News You Need to Know, Also featured on: Windows Users Get Instagram, Apple Store for iPad Launches + Other App News You Need to Know, Also featured on: Snapchat Unveils ‘Stories,’ and Other App News You Need To Know, Also featured on: 5 Controversial Apps