Joining rivals such as Instagram and TikTok, media sharing and instant messaging service Snapchat has finally launched a new web version of its app. With this, users are now able to chat with one another in both text and video via a web browser, expanding upon the platform’s previous efforts of introducing desktop or browser-based features carried over from its mobile app.
Commenting on the decision, Snapchat’s head of messaging product Nathan Boyd says a web version of the service is necessary as its users are using desktop computers more frequently. In addition, users are provided with extra space to chat and call in the same web browser window, which eliminates the limitations of the platform’s mobile app. Further, Snapchat believes that the move could also allow it to replicate the experience of other apps like Discord, where users can engage with each other in voice or video chats while doing other activities online.
The service notes that not all features from its mobile app are available on the web version, though it could eventually bring other functions, such as revenue generating abilities for content creators, if there’s enough demand. For now, users are only able to utilise Snapchat’s core features including snapping, chatting and video calling, with the implementation of the service’s AR Lenses for web or external cameras expected to be coming soon.
In addition, Snapchat also brought over its signature privacy features into its web version. These include screenshot blocking, and a new privacy screen ability that blocks the contents of users’ chats if they switch to a separate window on their desktop or web browser.
Unfortunately, the service revealed that the new web version isn’t available to all users across the globe just yet. For the time being, it is only currently accessible to Snapchat+ subscribers in the US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Snapchat assured that non-subscribers will eventually be able to use the web version in the near future, and a worldwide rollout is also included in its plans. No word on when this is expected to happen, however.