Snapchat was launched in late 2011 as a photo sharing app in an already over crowded messenger app market. But, Snapchat had a trick up its sleeve that would distinguish it from the rest and make it an instantaneous hit among teens. Snapchat lets you send photos and videos, called snaps in their lingo, that can be viewed only once and then self destruct after some time.
Snapchat is growing at a tremendous pace, even overtaking Facebook in the process to be become the top photo sharing platform. Currently, over 400 millions photos are shared on Snapchat everyday. The viral growth of Snapchat led to several ephemeral messaging app clones.
Snapchat: Review And Features
The design of Snapchat can be termed silly at best. The app’s logo is a ghost called Ghostface Chillah on yellow background. After logging in the user is taken to a screen which lets you take photos and videos. Photos can be taken by clicking on the large circular button on the bottom of the screen and videos can be taken by holding the same button. The square button on the left of the circular button takes you to the feed or you can simply swipe from left to right to access that screen. The other button on the right of the circular button ( or swipe from right to left) takes you to your ‘My Friends’ screen.
Snapchat has introduced various additional features like Snapchat Stories, replay, smart filters, visual filters, special text and front-facing flash after the initial launch. By adding a snap to your story, the snap can be viewed unlimited times over 24 hours. You can choose who gets to view your stories by adjusting the settings.
Replay, smart filters, visual filters, special text and front-facing flash can be enabled by managing additional services in settings menu. In this menu, you can also choose to set a maximum of seven best friends. Snapchat replay lets you view a snap for the second time, but, you can use it only once a day. Snapchat has added four filters under visual filters and with smart filters you can overlay time, temperature or speed at which the photo is taken. With special text you can choose between normal font size or large font size. More information on how to use these features can be found here.
After taking the photo, various touch sensitive icons appear on screen. There are four icons at the bottom of the screen. By tapping the left most icon at the bottom, you can set the time for which your snap be viewed between one and ten seconds. The second icon on the left lets you to download your photo. The icon next to it lets you to add the snap to your stories. The last icon i.e the icon at bottom right lets you choose to whom you want to the send the snap. A color picker at the top right corner lets you choose the color with which you want to overlay your hand written message. You can also tap once on the snap to enter text with standard font. You can choose a different font size by tapping on the ‘T’ that appears to the left of color picker. You can drag this text overlay to anywhere on the snap. Smart filters and visual filters can be activated by swiping on the screen from left to right or right to left.
All the snaps you receive are shown in your feed. You need to press and hold the snap to view it. This mechanism is to prevent you from taking snapshots of the snaps you have received.Once the snap is viewed, it is deleted from your device as well as from the servers.
Finding friends is also very easy on Snapchat. Snapchat links your username with your phone number. You can use the find friends option to find out who among your contacts is using snapchat.
Overall, Snapchat is a fun app which liberates you from the digital permanence of our times. Snapchat isn’t entirely fool-proof, but, it definitely is a step forward. It has taken some steps to protect the ephemeral nature of the app by sending a notification when a screenshot of your snap is taken. Though this can be easily circumvented, it doesn’t take the fun out of this photo messaging app.
The new features like Snapchat Stories and replay also tend to reduce the ephemeral nature of this app. So, have you used Snapchat yet and what do you think about this ephemeral messaging sensation?