Earlier this week, Facebook updated its Messenger app, giving it a Snapchat-like makeover. The social network is trying to get in on the rise of messaging apps, especially after its failed bid to acquire Snapchat.
Then, Snapchat rolled out a slew of new features today in an effort to be more competitive in the messaging space. The startup now boasts text and live-video chatting capabilities; the new features take a similarly ephemeral approach while maintaining the unconventionality of its initial product.
“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 the blog post announcing the news.
So what sets Snapchat’s new features apart from other messaging apps?
- Messages disappear, unless you tap to save them.
- Typing indicators show up on your lock screen instead of the chat window.
- When someone sends multiple messages, the receiver gets only one push notification.
- Fluid video chatting: There’s no ringing and answering. Instead, users press and hold a button to video chat. They don’t have to go both ways, either.
The Verge summed it up nicely:
[Evan Spiegel]’s trying to create digital spaces with the same immediacy and ephemerality we get in real-world conversations. Smartphones have changed the way we all communicate with each other. But if Spiegel can achieve his vision, Snapchat could be the app that changes it back.
While it seems that both Facebook Messenger and Snapchat are taking a leaf out of each others’ books, Snapchat’s updates are more thoughtful and innovative. We would use the word “disruptive,” but Spiegel says: “We never conceive of our products as disruptive… It’s always about how we can evolve this and make this better,” he told The Verge. Will Facebook Messenger follow suit?
Check out this video from The Verge for a tour of the app’s newest features: