Innovation That Matters

Photo messaging app makes shared images disappear within 10 seconds

Work & Lifestyle

Snapchat sends photo messages to individual friends, which can disappear after 10 seconds.

The success of Instagram has shown that photo sharing is now a standard part of the mobile world, but Snapchat offers a different take on this. Whereas Instagram presents photos as a stream from the people a user follows, Snapchat is closer to text messaging and sends photos only to friends the user chooses. Even more intriguing, it gives those friends only a few seconds to view them. Launched a little over a year ago, California-based Snapchat aims to make social media “fun again,” it says. With versions for both iPhone and Android, the app enables users to take photos, add text and drawings, and send them to a controlled list of recipients who also use the app. Along the way, users set a limit on how long recipients have to view those photos, up to a maximum of 10 seconds; after that, the photos are made to disappear. Sending photos with Snapchat is up to 10 times faster than with MMS, the company says. The free service also notifies users when friends take a screenshot of a photo they send. A testament to Snapchat’s rapid success is that it reportedly posted four times more photos on US Thanksgiving than Instagram did – and that holiday was apparently Instagram’s biggest day yet. At the same time, Snapchat has also reportedly raised concern among parents, some of whom fear it may encourage “sexting” among its many teen users. Nevertheless, there’s no denying Snapchat has found a niche for itself. Mobile entrepreneurs: one to partner with or emulate with a unique twist of your own?



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