Snapchat May Add New Chat, Audio and Video Calling Features
The messaging app Snapchat appears to be working on several new features that could result in a dramatically different experience for users. The features, discovered by developers at Snapprefs, could enable a new chat interface called ChatV2 that would make it easier to launch voice and video calls, among other capabilities.
Snapprefs, a project to develop enhanced features for Snapchat using the Xposed Module Repository framework, first called attention to the new features in a post on the XDA developers form on Friday. In an update posted today, Snapprefs user MaaarZ described how developers were able to get aspects of the new Snapchat interface working on a device running Android Marshmallow.
In addition to introducing new voice and video calling capabilities to Snapchat, the ChatV2 interface enables the use of stickers in chats. Snapchat did not respond to our request for more information about whether and when the updates might be rolled out.
More User-Friendly Interface
A 9to5Google analysis of the new capabilities enabled by the updated Snapchat code noted that the video chat interface appears to be more user-friendly and easier to implement than the existing chat feature. The new feature more closely resembles the interface used by other video chat applications such as Google Hangouts or Facebook Messenger, according to 9to5Google.
"Judging from the rather fleshed out interface and that the features are working, these features appear to be more than just internal testing on the part of Snapchat," 9to5Google noted. "If anybody can popularize video calling, it should be Snapchat with this new interface and features."
Other publications observed that the new Snapchat features could make the app more competitive with other messaging apps, as well as enable new ways to generate revenue.
New Monetization Opportunities?
For now, the code uncovered by Snapprefs appears to work only on devices running Marshmallow, the latest version of Android. In the XDA post today, MaaarZ noted that the code produced only a blank screen on devices running KitKat, while the developers haven't yet tested it on a device running Lollipop.
TheNextWeb reported today that the new capabilities suggest that Snapchat "could be looking to new monetization possibilities within the messaging sphere by taking on the likes of Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp."
Citing Snapchat's current "lack of data" for advertisers looking to better target ads to users, TheNextWeb noted that the company has recently made several changes aimed at boosting its advertiser appeal. In addition to bundling users and cutting ad costs, Snapchat now lets advertisers link Snapchat accounts to more data-heavy applications such as Facebook, TheNextWeb said.