Snapcat, a Photo-Sharing App for Cats, Is Fun but Probably Not Worth $3 Billion

Photographer: Akimasa Harada

Cats can take selfies using the Snapcat app, which was created at a German hackathon. Close

Cats can take selfies using the Snapcat app, which was created at a German hackathon.

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Photographer: Akimasa Harada

Cats can take selfies using the Snapcat app, which was created at a German hackathon.

Snapchat thinks it’s worth more than $3 billion. Snapcat, a similarly named but unaffiliated photo-sharing application designed for cats, probably isn’t, but that’s OK.

Facebook offered the hefty price for Snapchat in the hopes of scooping up the app’s adoring teenage fan base, which can’t seem to get enough of disappearing photos, Bloomberg News reported earlier this month. Facebook hasn’t expressed the same interest in acquiring feline users. That’s a shame because you could buy some serious Fancy Feast with that scratch.

Snapcat (without the H) is an Android app that lures curious house cats with an irresistible red dot jumping around the screen. The cursor doubles as a camera shutter button. When the cat slaps the dot, the phone or tablet takes a pictures using the device’s front-facing camera. The result: cat selfies.

The pet’s owner can manually add Instagram-style photo filters, and then share them on Facebook, Twitter or EyeEm. The latter is a photo-sharing service developed by the Berlin-based startup EyeEm Mobile, where Snapcat was born.

During a hackathon in June, four EyeEm employees and one from Capsule.fm, another Berlin company, developed the Snapcat app and website over the course of about 20 hours, according to Matias Castello, one of the developers who is a product manager at EyeEm. The cat used in the app’s promotional material is Castello’s furry feline, Cali. She is also a beta tester of the product.

The German team has improved the app over several product updates since its launch this summer. The U.S., Japan and China are Snapcat’s biggest markets, and the software has been downloaded at least 10,000 times, according to Google’s Play website. (That’s not much compared with Snapchat’s 10 million-plus on Android, but not bad for a cat app.)

"We've seen a few copycats appear in the past few months,” Castello wrote in an e-mail. "We'd like to port the app to iPad next as we're received a lot of requests for it. Also, we're thinking of other living creatures that could potentially take photos of themselves by trying to catch something on a screen (more on that soon, hopefully).”

My bet’s on Instagerbil.

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