WhatsApp races to internationalize Snapchat’s overlaid creative tools

WhatsApp races to internationalize Snapchat’s overlaid creative tools

Posted 23 seconds ago by Josh Constine (@joshconstine)
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Every member of the Facebook family of apps is racing to bring Snapchat’s best features to international audiences before it blows up abroad. There was the Facebook Camera Feed, Instagram Stories, Messenger Day, and now WhatsApp is copying Snapchat’s creative tools.

38708c954b2902f8f0b9cc31b318dfcb20b5d4cfNow you’ll be able to add overlaid text with multiple colors and fonts, drawings, and emojis to photos and videos you shoot or upload with WhatsApp. These allow for better visual communication, where you can add captions, highlight certain things, jazz up scenes with silly doodles, or augment them with emoji. Snapchat popularizes this style of chat, which can feel more fun, inspired, and vivid than messaging with just text or unadorned images.

WhatsApp has also grabbed Snapchat’s front-facing flash feature for illuminating your face by blinking your screen white, which lets you take low-light selfies. Meanwhile, you can zoom in before taking a photo or while shooting a video with by dragging a single finger up and down the screen, which allows one-handed zooming.

In the US, this move might come of as blatant stealing of features that have become synonymous with Snapchat. Snapchat has 150 million daily users, with 60 million of them in the US and Canada.

But WhatsApp has over 1 billion monthly users scattered all over the developing markets of the world. Many of those countries don’t see much Snapchat adoption, so these people might not associate these creative tools with Snapchat. Instead, they might simply see this update as a big improvement to WhatsApp.

The international messaging juggernaut doesn’t have all the nifty feature of Snapchat, like animated selfie lenses, geofilters, or augmented reality 3D stickers. But if it can offer decent creative tools for visual communication, WhatsApp’s users might have less reason to stray to Snapchat if the ephemeral app eventually becomes popular in their area.

Good enough features plus being the first app to offer them at scale in a market could succeed better than having the best features but showing up late.

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