Snapchat is finally letting you chat

It took a while for the photo and video sharing app to step up its game with new messaging features

It's about time Snapchat finally made its 'chat' moniker mean it, for real.

The photo and video messaging app has moved out of its comfort zone and has rolled out what it claims to be its biggest update yet – adding a good old text messaging interface and a new FaceTime-like video chatting feature to its offering.

"Until today, we felt that Snapchat was missing an important part of conversation: presence," the company wrote in its blog post. "There’s nothing like knowing you have the full attention of your friend while you’re chatting."

These new features, collectively called Chat, could change the nature of the app greatly, as they focus on letting you engage in conversations instead of just randomly sending one-off pictures or videos that “disappear”.

And let’s face it, taking an appalling photo (at least in our case), adding a caption and sending it to a friend doesn’t make it a good chat. Good thing these pictures are wiped out when the session ends.

A new look

But you can put behind all of this now. Swipe right on a friend’s name in your Snapchat inbox to enter a text chat session with the person.

We’re just lacking a few emojis to seal the deal. Instant messaging can be saved individually if you tap on them, but those that aren’t saved will be cleared, staying true to its Snapchat form.

A new button on the bottom of the screen turns blue when a friend is online, letting either of you start a video session. If both of you hit the button, you see both ends of the call simultaneously (just make sure the other person has the update installed before you try).

The updated Snapchat is available on both iOS and Android platforms. Have a go at it, we’ve tried it and it’s good fun. Unless, you haven’t gotten on board the bandwagon just because you hate sharing selfies of yourselves (or looking at another’s) with a vengeance.

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