Snapchat, the mobile messaging app that’s popular with millennials, is today unveiling four new creative tools as it looks to broaden its appeal with both existing and new users.
Undoubtedly one of the most intriguing new features rolling out today is what Snap is calling Limitless Snaps, which effectively lets you share photos within chats for an unlimited period of time. Given that Snapchat rose to prominence as an ephemeral messaging app that lets users share photos for no longer than 10 seconds, this is a notable departure for the company.
To set a snap to “limitless,” just hit the infinity icon that now exists within the timer, and it’s good to go. The photo will then be visible on a user’s screen for as long as they want it there, but as soon as they close the snap it vanishes for good.
It’s worth noting here that Snapchat already offers some features that bring an element of permanence to content shared through the app. Text-based chats and voice bubbles between friends, for example, can be saved. And users can share their favorite moments to their own personal Memories section, which can be recalled later, or share them publicly in Stories, which last for 24 hours. But other than screenshots, photos (and videos) have so far only been visible for up to 10 seconds, with one additional replay permitted.
Another notable new feature rolling out with the latest version of Snapchat is Looping Videos, which — as the name suggests — allows creators to loop their video until their friend taps to close it or chooses to advance the story. Again, given that videos within Snapchat have so far disappeared after a set period of time, this is a key evolution for the app.
The other new creative tools arriving from today include the Magic Eraser, which lets users erase something from a photo while keeping the background behind the removed object in place, and “Draw With Emojis,” which does pretty much what it says on the box — you can draw pictures using emojis from within the doodle tool.
The timing of today’s announcement is likely no coincidence — Snap went public in early March, and its first earnings call is scheduled for tomorrow. The company’s shares have hardly been riding on the crest of a wave, so anything that gives Snap something extra to talk about on its earnings call is probably a good thing, though one could argue that with Limitless Snaps and Looping Videos, the company is killing off its one defining characteristic.
But with Facebook relentlessly pilfering ideas from Snapchat, it’s nice to see Snap borrowing back in the form of Looping Videos.