Two developers looking around in the Snapchat for Android APK have found references to video and audio calls possibly coming to the ephemeral social network at some point in the future. Additionally, there might also be an audio notes and a Periscope-like livestreaming feature coming…

Posting their findings on XDAMaaarZ and stirante found code references to these features in version of Snapchat. That version was released on December 24th of last year and since then there has been one update to the app. The pair discovered:

  • A new ‘SnapType’ called ‘AUDIONOTE’ which would record just sound. Interestingly, there is no reference to the max size or length the audio recording could be.
  • ‘chat_stream_audio’ and ‘chat_incoming_video’ code that points to a new full-screened video and audio calling feature where users could ignore, listen in, or join in.

While this is not sure-fire evidence by any means, Snapchat introducing audio and video calling would put it in direct competition with Skype, Google Hangouts, and Apple’s FaceTime among many other services. Snapchat already has a feature similar to video calling announced in 2014. Users have to hold down on the screen to share their video feed to another person. However, it has not become a major way people use the app.

Video calling isn’t something that’s a daily activity for most people, but Snapchat’s wide popularity among teens and younger adults would give it a remarkable advantage. With many teens using Snapchat as a replacement to texting, this audio/video call feature could replace the little calling they do.

While Snapchat allows people to record short video themselves to send to others in snap form, that’s a far stretch from actually having full face-to-face conversations. The ability to just listen-in to a video feed seems like a possible Periscope competitor. Facebook has a similar live streaming feature, but it is currently limited to celebrities with verified accounts.

This feature, if it’s anything more than just beta testing, would be a vast departure from Snapchat’s current quick and ephemeral style of messaging that made the app popular in the first place. If anybody can get young people today to try a new mode of communication, though, it would be Snapchat.

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Abner Li

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