Snapchat features like snapping, chatting, and video calling are coming to desktop through a new web app, marking the first time the company has made its service available beyond smartphones, The Verge reported.
According to The Verge, with Snapchat for web, you can log in with your Snapchat account and send private messages or call friends on desktop. Initially, the web platform will be available exclusively to Snapchat Plus subscribers, and its the first major feature launch since Snap announced its paid tier in June. Subscribers in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand will get access first. Snapchat will only be compatible with Google’s Chrome browser and not Apple’s Safari.
The Verge stated that Snapchat Head of Messaging Product, Nathan Boyd, says that a web offering makes sense because its users are using desktop computers more frequently. Snapchat for Web gives users extra space to chat and call in the same window, with Snap’s AR Lenses coming soon.
“We were always looking for ways to meet our community where they are,” he said in an interview, “It just felt like something that was an unmet opportunity”.
Personally, making Snapchat for Web compatible with only one browser – Google’s Chrome – is going to exclude everyone who uses other browsers. Not everyone is a fan of Chrome, and Snapchat for Web cannot be used on Safari. This doesn’t sound like “always looking for ways to meet our community where they are.”
CNBC reported that Snapchat for Web will be a more stripped-down version of the mobile app, primarily focusing on the app’s messaging feature as opposed to its Stories feature.
TechCrunch reported that to access Snapchat for Web, users need to go to web.snapchat.com and login with their Snapchat username and password. To me, this sounds like a person cannot use Snapchat for Web unless they already have a Snapchat app account.
According to TechCrunch, once you open Snapchat for Web, you can continue your conversations from where you left them on mobile. When your using Snapchat via a desktop, your Bitmoji will appear in chats with a laptop to indicate to others that you’re accessing the chat via Snapchat for Web. It will also have a privacy screen that hides the Snapchat window if you click away for another task.
TechCrunch also reported that messages that are sent via Snapchat for Web will be deleted after 24 hours. The company says that this will prevent people from taking screenshots. However, Snap is aware that people can still take a picture on the screen from their phone, noting that the product isn’t perfect.
In summary: You can’t use Snapchat for Web unless you already have a Snapchat account on the app, and are a Snapchat+ subscriber. You can only use Snapchat for Web on Google’s Chrome browser. Despite limiting the amount of time a Snapchat for Web user can see a message – it sure sounds like there isn’t anything stopping a person from taking a screenshot of that message through the Snapchat phone app.