Snapchat is taking a step outside your smartphones and is landing right on the web. The platform is bringing in features like chatting, video calling, and even snapping to the desktop via a new web app. This is also the first time Snapchat has stepped out of smartphones.
Snapchat for Web can be logged in via the same credentials you use on your Snapchat account on the smartphone and use the web platform to send private messages to friends and also call them. However, it appears that Snapchat for Web might see a phased rollout because initially it is going to be available to Snapchat Plus subscribers only.
Snap launched this paid tier for the platform in June this year and this is the first exclusive feature that is coming to the subscribers. Snapchat Plus subscribers in the UK, the US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand will get access to Snapchat for Web first. Additionally, Snapchat for Web is only compatible with Google’s Chrome and Apple’s Safari browser.
While Snapchat is supposed to be a “visual-first” messaging app, the platform’s head of messaging product Nathan Boyd explained that a web version of the app makes sense because users are on their desktop devices more frequently.
Snapchat for Web will give users extra space to chat and also video call on the same window, additionally, support for Snap’s AR lenses are coming to the web soon too. Boyd also added that they want to bring more of Snap’s products to the web over time.
Now, with the move to the web for messaging and calling, Snap is going to directly compete with the likes of Discord, and Meta’s WhatsApp -- both of which are available on the smartphone and the web. Snap has positioned itself as an AR platform for Lenses lately, but at the core it is still an app that is used primarily for ephemeral messages and calls.
Boyd told The Verge that about 100 million people call each other on Snapchat every month and spend an average of more than 30 mins a day on these calls. Chatting on Snap is the “last thing people do” before they close the app for the day.
As The Verge points out, rolling out Snapchat for Web is also the first sign of Snap taking its paid tier seriously. Snap has about 332 million daily active users (DAU), which is more than Twitter, but reports have stated that its revenue growth is slowing, thus the company is under significant pressure to monetise its DAUs. Snapchat for Web will initially be ad-free to ensure users stick around long enough to get used to it.
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