Snapchat App Adds Texting And Video Calls
Snapchat - the app used to send picture messages which self-destruct after a few seconds - is adding video calls and text chat.
It puts it in direct competition with video-calling services such as Apple's FaceTime, and revamped chat apps like Facebook Messenger.
A message on the company's website said: "Until today, we felt that Snapchat was missing an important part of conversation: presence.
"There's nothing like knowing you have the full attention of your friend while you're chatting."
Users will be able to swipe right on a friend's name to bring up an instant messaging feature, or press and hold a contact's name to share live video and chat face-to-face if both users are online at the same time.
Snapchat was first launched in 2011, and allows users to send photographs which are automatically deleted after between one and 10 seconds.
A feature was later added which allowed users to record and share short bursts of video, which was then deleted after it had been viewed.
Snapchat rejected a $3bn (£1.8bn) offer from Facebook last year.
Facebook this week revamped its own standalone chat app by making it easier to add selfies and video to conversations.
Meanwhile, Twitter has floated the possibility of adding a "secret conversations" feature, while Vine has added the option to send direct messages.