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January 27, 2016

Snapchat Leak Shows Several New Features

Recently, some enterprising folks found exciting new features for Snapchat in an unlikely location: the app's currently-existing code. Contained within was the groundwork for an array of new features to come, and if the code actually rolls out to the current user base, Snapchat might be in a much better position in the market.

Reports suggest that Snapchat's code is hiding a host of upgrades, including not only audio and video calling capabilities, but also stickers for the chat interface. With these tools active, Snapchat could easily be a match for Facebook Messenger or even the WeChat system out of China. Given that Snapchat's CEO Evan Spiegel has already expressed some admiration for WeChat, it's not surprising to see development proceed along those lines.

Perhaps the biggest point of admiration Spiegel had was WeChat's ability to make money via included digital content. The addition of stickers is one point, but so too are things like games and even some commerce options. Bringing such things to Snapchat could give the app a new source of revenue, and ultimately, life. Snapchat's recent experiment with charging for selfie lenses in the app recently shut down, suggesting that it didn't do so well, and that Snapchat would love to see a different means on hand to pull in cash.

Snapchat represents a pop-culture success of Web-based real time communications (WebRTC), and WebRTC itself is a field routinely growing. Those who want to see more about this need only hit ITEXPO, running through January 28 at the Broward County Convention Center in Fort Lauderdale. On Thursday, January 28 at 10:00 am, a presentation titled “The Embedded Communications Revolution: How WebRTC Will Change Everything” will carry on and show off just where WebRTC is going and what impact it will have on the wider field.

It's true that Snapchat needs both a way to make money for itself and compete with the wider field. There are a lot of competitors out there, and many of these are available at no charge to the user. Free sevices, however, don’t keep developers paid and the lights on, so such operations need to find more creative sources of revenue. Additionally, to make these worthwhile, the app has to keep up the user base to make sure people are coming in and using the app to begin with. Snapchat's solutions may be quite a help here, assuming these tools are brought to the wider user base.

Snapchat's position in the market isn't the best; it's got a lot of competitors and not much room to effectively monetize. Creative solutions will be required to keep Snapchat in the market, and stickers and more chat options might be just the way to go. 

Edited by Kyle Piscioniere
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