Snapchat, the extremely popular mobile app that allows users to snap a photo, share with a friend, and then have that photo deleted after a few seconds, is adding a new component on Friday — video.
The company is also plans to announce Friday that it’s hit a new milestone of 50 million photos shared every day, which is a staggering number when you consider that Instagram’s most recent figure is 5 million uploads per day.
A company exlained in a press release how video “Snaps,” as they’re called, will work:
“How this works: Instead of toggling back and forth between a photo and a video setting, we’ve combined them into one button. If you want to take a photo, just tap the button. If you want to capture video, hold the button down. When you’re done recording, lift your finger. Video snaps are up to ten seconds long, and like photo snaps, can only be viewed once in the application.”
Spiegel said adding video makes perfect sense for the app that lets users be themselves without much fear of recordings or images showing up around the web:
“I don’t know if you’ve ever watched a video of yourself, but it’s so awkward,” he said. “Video for Snapchat is really going to double underline what we’re all about. You get to share these really raw, really engaging moments. It’s such a crazy, powerful medium. Because it’s totally okay to be yourself and hear how awkward you are.”
GigaOM’s Om Malik reported Wednesday that Snapchat is reportedly “raising around $8 million at a pretty generous pre-money valuation. The rumored (but not confirmed valuation is close to $50 million),” from Matt Cohler, who backed Instagram for Benchmark Capital. Snapchat was founded by Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy, two recent graduates of Stanford, in 2011.
Not surprisingly, Snapchat has been incredibly popular so far with teenagers who can take silly self-pics and send to a friend without much worry of those photos being posted to Facebook (if the receiver tries to take a screenshot of the photo, it notifies the sender), but also not suprisingly Snapchat has become known as “the sexting app,” due to the built-in self-destruction capabilities. It’s hard to imagine that the new video function won’t be used for the same purpose.
In an interview earlier this month, Spiegel said he doesn’t think that Snapchat is really used for sexting because “80 percent of photos are sent during the day,” and he takes this to mean it would be hard to send naked pics during the day. However, he said he can’t promise what users will do with the app, which is why they don’t make guarantees:
“We don’t want to get into an arms race with really clever people. Which is why we’re not advocating ourselves as a secure platform. We’re not for like, CIA documents.”