‘Snapchat’ a photo mes­sag­ing app

Austin American-Statesman - - LIFE & ARTS - Con­tact Omar L. Gal­laga at 4453672. Twit­ter: @omarg

It’s not easy for new apps to break out and get lots of at­ten­tion as a po­ten­tial “Next big thing,” but Snapchat ap­pears to be do­ing just that based on an in­trigu­ing mix of tech­nolo­gies.

Built by a very small team in Cal­i­for­nia, the app for iOS and An­droid de­vices mixes tex­ting with photo-tak­ing. But the thing that makes Snapchat stand out is that the pho­tos self-de­struct. The sender can choose when the photo ex­pires, up to 10 sec­onds, and at that time, the im­age dis­ap­pears on the de­vice of the sender and the re­cip­i­ent. The com­pany says it doesn’t save or store those im­ages, ei­ther. And if the re­cip­i­ent tries to cap­ture a screen­shot of the im­age be­fore it dis­ap­pears, the sender is no­ti­fied. Re­cently Snapchat added video mes­sages to the app as well. Surely there will be ways peo­ple will find to hack the “self­de­struc­t­ing” part of the app, but on its face, the idea is a good one, even if it has al­ready been painted by some as an app most ideal for sex­ting.

Snapchat says the app ac­cel­er­ates photo mes­sag­ing, work­ing much faster than tra­di­tional SMS and al­low­ing for “real-time pic­ture chat­ting.” Al­ready, 50 mil­lion pho­tos are be­ing shared us­ing the ser­vice per day and there are re­ports that Face­book may be work­ing on some­thing sim­i­lar as well.

In this space ev­ery week, we’ll de­fine a tech term, of­fer a timely tip or an­swer ques­tions about tech­nol­ogy from read­ers. Email ogal­laga@states­man.com


“Snapchat” screen­shots self-de­struct af­ter a set pe­riod of time.

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