Zoom has an unlikely new competitor — Snapchat

The goal is to give users the freedom to switch between their phone and computer, while continuing their conversations on the platform. But the new desktop option might also help Snapchat (INSTANTANEOUS) face a surprising rival: Zoom.

While Snapchat is known for allowing users to send disappearing chats and photos, called snaps, video calls have become a popular feature of the app, according to the company. Snapchat said its app hosts more than 100 million video calls each month with up to 15 participants each. Now he hopes that service will become easier and more enjoyable to use when people join these calls from a desktop computer.

The idea is similar to video call services such as Zoom (ZM), which has exploded in popularity during the pandemic, but with some unique Snapchat selling points. Users will be able to initiate calls faster and easier because they are already connected to friends and can see when others are online, according to the company. Snapchat’s signature photo lenses – those that can make users look like they have dog ears, freckles or other features – will also soon be available for video calling on the web version.

As with the app, the web version of Snapchat opens directly to the camera to encourage users to send photos to friends. In a sidebar, users will see a list of their recent chats with friends, where they can open snaps or start a chat. The web version won’t include all the features of the mobile app, such as the “Snap Map” where users can follow their friends or the discovery section – at least to start, according to the company.

“With so many of our community members spending more time online, whether for remote learning or working, streaming or just browsing, we saw a huge opportunity to enable our community to stay longer. easily connected throughout the day,” a spokesperson for Snap, the app’s parent company, said in a statement.

To protect user safety and privacy, Snapchat for the web prohibits users from taking screenshots of chats or snaps (the app alerts users if someone screenshots their chat or photo). The company also created a “privacy screen” to hide the Snapchat window if users click elsewhere.

The launch comes as Snap, Snapchat’s parent company, took a beating on Wall Street after posting a bigger-than-expected loss in its latest earnings report and later warning investors it had cut its quarterly guidance to come because of a deteriorating economy. Shares of Snap, which is expected to report second-quarter results later this week, have fallen 70% since the start of this year.
Last month, Snap introduced a new paid subscription service called Snapchat+ with the potential to boost revenue. The web version may be a draw for the new $3.99 per month subscription option. At launch, the web version of Snapchat will be available to all users in Australia and New Zealand and to Snapchat+ users in the US, UK and Canada. The service will soon be deployed on Snapchat+ followers in France, Germany, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates.

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