Snapchat rolls out changes to service

By Danielle Middleton topicIcon Social Media

Snapchat reveals updates to its service

Over the last 24 hours, ephemeral messaging app Snapchat has been rolling out its latest updates to users.

The latest version of the social network is the biggest introduction of new features to date, with the aim to give users the opportunity to communicate in real time but with a difference.

Snapchat's new look

Regular users of Snapchat will notice an immediate difference in the app's interface; icons and buttons have been redesigned and the menus, which are still navigated by swiping left and right, are much less cluttered while the font is now subtler and smaller than before.

The social network has also made improvements to its camera, an area that Snapchat has previously failed to compete on the same level as competitors such as Instagram, only producing grainy images. Now app users can enjoy the immediate and temporary nature of Snapchat that has made it so popular, in a higher resolution.

A frenzy of features

The app, which was originally launched in September 2011, remains one of the top downloaded apps of the last year, with an increase of 300m messages sent each day over the last six months. Late last year Facebook reportedly made a $3bn (£1.8bn) bid for the app which was rejected by Snapchat, the social network has since raised $50m (£30m) from private investors in order to fund the company's growth and advancement in the app market.

After little change to the service's functions aside from the introduction of alternative fonts, filters and the My Story feature, Snapchat users have now been treated to an influx of options to communicate with in one go, including:

  • The ability to send text messages between users, on top of the 45-character notes that were previously added to an image, enabling users to have full conversations via the app - to chat with friends users must simply swipe right on the individual's name.
  • Texts can only be exchanged between users who have recently sent one another images, while photos can also be sent via text message using the familiar capture button.
  • Users can upload images from their camera roll - while they could only previously use photos taken within the app.

Perhaps the most interesting of the new features to be introduced, is Snapchat's own version of video chatting. The app has retained the temporary and immediate nature of its service by only allowing users who are on the app at the same time to video chat with one another. Unlike video chatting apps such as FaceTime which has a ringtone to alert the user that there is a call coming through, Snapchat has instead placed more emphasis on the app being about living in the present moment.

Adrian Mursec, senior developer at theEword said: "Snapchat has asserted itself as a very individual service provider, particularly in its rejection of social media giant Facebook's billion dollar offer. The team know that they have something unique to offer that is exceedingly popular, and the latest version indicates that it is only getting bigger and better and it is not just a fad for teenagers with its user growth continuing to rise at a phenomenal rate."