Snapchat has rolled out a video calling feature for their 187 million users to enhance efforts that chatting on the app becomes synonymous with “hanging out” instead of texting.
According to the website, up to 16 users will now be able to enter into a group video call using the app’s ‘Group Chat’ feature. Users who do not wish to use their cameras in the video call can choose to participate using voice or text only. Moreover, up to 32 people will now be able to conduct joint voice chats on Snapchat.
During calls, users will also be able to use the Snapchat lenses, such as the ever popular rainbow-vomit.
Another new feature has been introduced into the app by Snap Inc, the ability to tag or mention friends in stories using the “@” key. Friends who are tagged will receive a notification that they have been mentioned in a user’s story. People who view the tagged snap will be able to click on the mentioned user’s name and see their public stories.
Similar video chat capabilities are already available on apps like Facebook Messenger, Google Hangouts, Skype and Whatsapp.
Instagram has traditionally been quick to follow Snapchat in introducing new features. The same is expected of this new update as a recent analysis on Instagram’s code revealed that potential for voice and video calling features have been incorporated into it.
Tagging of friends in stories is a feature which is already available on Instagram. According to The Verge, Snap Inc. said that this feature will be particularly exciting for influencers and celebrities. It will give them the ability to tag companies or brands that they are promoting, allowing their followers to easily click-through to the company profile.
Snapchat user base has gone up by 18% over the last year. In attempts to garner more users, the app recently introduced a host of new features including Map Explore, Bitmoji customisation, Giphy integration, and custom face lenses.
Snapchat first introduced Group Chat and Video Chat in 2016; features that have been popular amongst users.
Group Video chat is expected to start rolling out internationally this week.