The company rolled out a new chat service that bears a liking to Apple’s iOS FaceTime service on Thursday, an effort to dive deeper into the mobile messaging market already dominated by Apple, Google (GOOG), Facebook and WhatsApp.
Facebook bought WhatsApp earlier this year for a record $19 billion, marking the biggest venture capital-backed takeover in history.
“Until today, we felt that Snapchat was missing an important part of conversation: presence,” the startup said in a statement. “There’s nothing like knowing you have the full attention of your friend while you’re chatting.”
Rather than a one-sided disappearing conversation -- which has been the basis of Snapchat from the beginning, where a person sends a picture with text and painted images to any number of friends to be viewed at a later time -- the new chat service allows the user to chat face-to-face in a real time video stream (sound familiar?).
In typical Snapchat fashion, however, the chat messages, viewed by both parties, will be cleared when leaving the screen -- unless, of course, either user takes a screenshot (always the Snapchat workaround).
The traditional service will remain intact.