Snapchat has done it again. The ubiquitous photo-sharing app, famous for allowing people to send “snaps” or pictures with limited viewing periods, has recently released a new update that would drastically redefine the way its users look at instant messaging and video calling.
The 7.0 update gives way for two new radical features. First is the text chat that comes complete with the patented Snapchat “self-deleting” function. Don’t worry though, like the pictures, recipients have the option to take a screenshot of the messages (the sender will be sent a notification). This is particularly useful for saving lists and other important messages.
Next up, is the widely-awaited video call feature. This was designed to allow power users to seamlessly segue over to video calling without switching over to other apps. You can now send, message, and call your friends all in one app alone.
The Snapchat video call feature works a little different from other video conferencing apps such as Skype or Google Hangouts. Here’s how to use Snapchat video call feature:
1. The Snapchat app needs to be updated to its newest version (Version 7.0). Only users with the updated app can send text messages or do video calls. Go to the AppStore to download the new Snapchat.
2. How do you know if you’re friend is ready to live chat with you? Well, scroll through your contacts and choose the friend you want to contact. Clicking on the name will open up the chat messaging room. From here, you can see your friend’s status on the boxed circle icon on top of the on-screen keyboard. Yellow means that one of you are not connected to the app (e.g. the app is not open on either person’s device or one of you is not connected to the Internet). Blue means that both of you are available for video chat!
3. To start the video call, just HOLD DOWN on the blue button. There’s no ringing or waiting involved. Your face will simply pop up on your friend’s smartphone or tablet. It’s very important that you must remember to hold the blue button down while talking; taking your finger off it will result into your conversation getting cut. Faces will appear on a little bubble at the right side of the screen.
4. By default, your device’s front facing camera will be used by the app. If you want to use the rear camera, simply swipe your thumb over the top area of the screen. Snapchat will automatically switch to the back-facing camera.
5. To end the call, simply take your finger off the blue trigger button. It’s as simple as that. In true Snapchat fashion, this new video call feature was designed to make electronic communication spontaneous and random again. There are no answering machines, no ringing tones, and whatnot. It’s just like meeting a friend on the street. While the video call function is still a bit buggy as of this writing, it’s pretty easy to see how this new feature will be a great boon to dedicated Snapchat users.