Snapchat launched what it called “Chat 2.0”, which includes support for video and audio calls, audio notes and stickers, while also acquiring Bitstrips, a company known for its customisable emojis.
Chat 2.0 will put Snapchat in competition with a wide range of apps, including FaceTime and Skype, Facebook Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp.
“What we love most about the new chat is how easily you can transition between all these ways of communicating — just like you do in person,” the company said.
Snapchat added that it has “been working on this redesign for a while”, coming two years after the chat feature was initially introduced.
It also launched a feature called auto-advance stories, which means when a user is watching a ‘story’ in the app, the next will begin automatically.
According to the Financial Times, users can also now access web pages within the app for the first time, an attractive feature for marketers who can direct customers to shop online without leaving the app.
Meanwhile, Snapchat acquired Bitstrips, which lets users create personalised emojis called bitmojis, for around $100 million, Fortune reported.