Snapchat moves beyond selfies, adding regular text, video chats

Snapchat, the mobile app best known for its self-destructing photo messages, is adding a new feature called Chat that will let people hold regular text and live-video conversations with each other.

From its blog post:

Swipe right on a friend’s name in your Snapchat inbox to start chatting. When you leave the chat screen, messages viewed by both you and your friend will be cleared – but either of you can always tap or screenshot to save anything you’d like to keep (addresses, to-do lists, etc.)!

We let you know when a friend is Here in your Chat so that you can give each other your full attention. And if you’re both Here, simply press and hold to share live video – and Chat face-to-face!

Snapchat’s foray into live video — much like Apple's and Google's Hangouts — and text chats is just the latest example of companies trying to morph from being masters of niche services to being everything for everybody.

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Snapchat rose to fame by specializing in a unique feature — the Mission: Impossible-esque self-deleting message, encouraging selfies, silly messages and explicit content. It eventually learned people could just screenshot those ephemeral photos, neutering the specialty, and it watched a more traditional messaging app sell to Facebook for $19 billion.

Click here to read the full report on The Wall Street Journal.