Snapchat users can now video chat with friends from their laptops.
The Santa Monica-based social media company still faces an uphill battle to compete with the video calling giant Zoom, which has been readily adopted in both academic and workplace settings—albeitwith issues. Zoom has beaten other video calling platforms like Skype and become synonymous with on-camera conversation, but Snapchat’s social media mojo could help it gain traction with young users.
As in-person events become more common, Zoom’s moment as a social media platform from early in the pandemic is waning. That hasn’t stopped the company from launching a platform specifically for events.
As a social media company, Snap can capitalize on its app’s young user demographic, whereas Zoom remains primarily focused on the workplace. Users can quickly start calls with friends who are online with Snapchat’s video messaging, and the company will eventually incorporate the app’s augmented reality lenses. (Disclosure: Snap is an investor in dot.LA.)
While Snap faced a “challenging” first quarter, Zoom’s first quarter turned out to be better than expected.
Still, the move furthers Snap’s super app ambitions. Super apps consolidate a number of services into one platform, and many social media companies are turning to the concept to further engage their users. Snapchat isn’t the first social media platform to integrate desktop video calls—Facebook Messenger introduced the feature in 2015 and even expanded video calls to include 50 people at the beginning of the pandemic. Other competitors like Twitter and Instagram, however, are holding off on exploring video calls.
On the desktop messaging side, popular apps like WhatsApp, Slack and Discord have solidified their place on the web. Those apps also have free-to-use options, while Snapchat’s desktop features are only available through Snapchat Plus.With its young user base moving away from Facebook and perhaps linking Zoom to school, Snapchat’s new feature has to potential to thrive in a social area where Zoom is struggling to grow.
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