By: Nick Gambino

Snapchat has endured some backlash recently due to the almost complete redesign of their app. So hopefully their new feature, which allows group video chats, will help calm the masses. Though that’s unlikely.

The feature allows up to 16 people to drop in on one video call or 32 people if they’re using voice only. I can’t come up with too many reasons why that many people would cram into a single call, especially on an app like Snapchat. Something tells me businesses aren’t looking to hold conference calls through the youth-driven social media app. Though maybe celebrations or epic events might call for it.

To start a chat, users will have to start a group or select an existing one. Once the originator makes the call by tapping on the video icon or phone icon, all members of the group will receive a notification of their invitation to the call. Once they’ve joined, the originator will be notified.

All callers using their video will have the ability to apply Snap lenses or filters to their faces. A screen full of dog ears, vomiting rainbows and other Alice in Wonderland-esque imagery will probably closely approximate an acid trip. User beware.

Everyone who’s invited isn’t required to show their face on camera. They can choose voice only or if they’re somewhere they can’t talk or simply not in the mood, they can text in the chat. Only those in the group will be able to see the messages.

In addition to the group video chat feature, Snapchat has also added the ability to @ someone in a Snap uploaded into Stories. The Mentions feature surprisingly hasn’t existed in the social media app until now.

To mention someone is pretty easy and follows the same rules as Instagram and Facebook. Type“@” and begin typing the person’s name. Once you see the person you want to tag, select it. The person will receive a notification that they were name-dropped in your Story. Anyone who sees the Story can swipe up on the mentioned name to add them as a friend or check out their Stories.

These features seem to be a step in the right direction and more closely aligned with what long-time Snap users are looking for. Let’s see if the now publicly-traded company can keep it going.


Nick Gambino is a regular script writer and tech beat reporter for NewsWatch. He lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and daughter.