Snapchat Adds Voice, Video Calling to Mobile Messaging App

  • Move steps up competition with Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp
  • Stickers point to personal avatars feature through Bitmoji

Snapchat Inc. logos are displayed on a laptop computer in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2015. Snapchat Inc. is raising money that could value the company at as much as $19 billion.

Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Snapchat Inc., operator of a popular social-messaging app, released an update that steps up competition with Facebook Inc., owner of rival mobile communication services Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp.

Los Angeles-based Snapchat bolstered its chat function with multimedia features including voice and video calling and digital stickers. Called Chat 2.0, the feature emulates "face-to-face communication," while making it easier to switch between video chatting, texting and calling, Snapchat said Tuesday in a blog post

WhatsApp introduced voice calls last year, but users are still waiting for video calling. Facebook’s Messenger communications app added this video capability in April.

Last week, Fortune reported Snapchat acquired Bitstrips, a Toronto-based maker of personalized avatars or "bitmojis." Snapchat declined to comment on the acquisition, which Fortune said was worth about $100 million. The deal suggests Snapchat will make its stickers more customizable in the future.

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