TechCrunch has a thorough rundown of all the new changes and describe them as an attempt to make Snapchat “the second most vibrant way to interact beyond talking in person.” While it’s definitely too soon to tell whether the attempt will work, the company has definitely pulled out all the stops to try.
Chat 2.0—a series of video, photo, and emoticon additions to the platform’s messaging feature—is by far the biggest upgrade.
Starting today, users will be able to drop more than 200 stickers into their chat conversations. (Among other things, this change throws Snapchat’s unexpected acquisition of personalized avatar maker Bitstrips into focus.)
Users will also be able to make both video and audio calls using Snapchat; they can add video and audio notes, which are essentially GIFs with or without sound; they can send more than one photo at a time in chat, and can also draw dicks all over them if they wish; and they can send photos while engaged in a video or audio call. Lastly, they can supposedly do all of this seamlessly, the intention of which is all about ease and intuitive use. (Don’t tell that to the Olds, though.)
The app’s current chat platform does none of this, and as of now, only lets users communicate with each other via one-time texts, emoji, images, or video.
If all of this seems confusing as hell, don’t worry—I use Snapchat fairly regularly, and even I feel like the teens are going to make fun of me when I try any of these new features out. What is clear, however, is that Snapchat ain’t your grandmother’s sexting app—it’s valiantly trying to turn into way more than its tired moniker of World’s Most Popular Sexting App.
In fact, it seems to be intent on cannibalizing every single other way its users interact, and will now bill itself as the one-stop shop for online communication. Given that most of its users still use it for the chat and story features, this seems like a not-completely-idiotic move.
At the very least, these features will probably be better than the terrible Discover section, which pits brands and media outlets against each other to outsell themselves to teens.