Snapchat is releasing a major update today that bolsters its chat function with a variety of new multimedia features. The long-rumoured update adds more than 200 stickers featuring walruses, sloths, aliens, and Snapchat’s signature ghost, and they can be searched by keyword, as on Facebook Messenger.
There are also easier controls for starting a video call, allowing you to dial someone who is not present in the chat. You can also choose to chat via audio, and switch back and forth from audio to video during a chat. If your friend doesn’t pick up, you can record a short audio or video “note” and it will be waiting for them the next time they open up the app.
The new chat feature also lets you access your camera roll from the messaging screen for the first time. Tap the familiar photo icon and you can choose to send photos and videos to your friends using chat.
You can also access them during video chats, so you can share photos inside the chat even as you talk. This feature is unique to the major video chatting services, and helps to answer the question of why you might want to use Snapchat’s video calling feature over FaceTime, Hangouts, Facebook Messenger, or Skype.
With the new “Chat 2.0” experience, you can switch between text, audio, and video chat on-the-fly with just a tap, and you can switch back with another. In a blog post, Snapchat said:
“Today, we’re excited to introduce Chat 2.0. You can start by sending a few chats, and when your friend shows up, start talking or video chatting instantly with one tap. Your friend can simply listen if you want to sing them a song, or watch if you have a new puppy to show them. If they aren’t there, you can quickly send an audio note to say what you mean. And sometimes, a sticker says it best :)”
In addition to these new chatting features, Snapchat is adding Auto-Advanced Stories, which allow you to automatically advance from Story to Story. Snapchat will be rolling out its new chatting features today.