(Telegraph) — Snapchat has announced it is ‘putting the chat into Snapchat’ with a new instant messaging service to rival WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.
Users will soon be able to swipe right on a friend’s name in their Snapchat inbox to start an instant text conversation. If both users are in a chat, the app will also offer the opportunity to share live video and chat face-to-face.
When the user leaves the chat screen, all their messages and those of their friend will self-destruct automatically. However, users can tap or screenshot to save anything they would like to keep, such as addresses or to-do lists.
“Until today, we felt that Snapchat was missing an important part of conversation: presence. There’s nothing like knowing you have the full attention of your friend while you’re chatting,” said Snapchat in a blog post.
“We let you know when a friend is Here in your Chat so that you can give each other your full attention. And if you’re both Here, simply press and hold to share live video – and Chat face-to-face.”
The new features will come in an update to the existing app, which has not yet arrived in the app store.
The news comes after Facebook updated its Messenger app earlier this week to include video messaging. Users can now tap a camera icon in their chat window to open up a ‘selfie’ window just below their conversation.
A report published last week revealed that teenagers are moving away from ‘traditional’ social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter in favour of mobile messaging apps like Snapchat and WhatsApp.
Snapchat is the fastest growing social media app among teens, with this demographic more than twice as likely as others to be using it. Snapchat usage increased 60 per cent between Q3 and Q4 2013, according to the report.
Jason Mander, head of trends at GlobalWebIndex, said that these apps are particularly attractive to teenagers because they are more private than traditional social networks, and this generation is increasingly concerned about its digital footprint.