Snapchat is a mobile application for image messaging and multimedia entertainment created by Evan Spiegel, Bobby Murphy, and Reggie Brown. The app came with a new concept of making the pictures and messages available for only a short time before they become inaccessible. It all started as a prototype by Brown and Spiegel as a project for one of Spiegel’s classes at Stanford.

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Initially named “Picaboo”, it was meant to be a selfie app that would allow users share images that were explicitly short-lived and self-deleting. However, Snapchat has since evolved into a fine mix of private messaging and public content sharing app.

Snapchat Core functionality

Snapchat’s primary function is for creating multimedia messages known as “snaps”; which can consist mainly of a picture or a short video clip, and can be edited to include various filters and effects, text captions, and drawings some of which are proprietary to Snapchat.

In July 2014, a new feature known as “Geofilters” was added, to allow for special graphical overlays if the user is within a certain geographical location, such as a city, event, or destination. Also in September 2015, the “Lens” feature was introduced to allow users add real-time effects into their snaps by using face detection technology.

Snaps can be directly sent to selected contacts, or to a semi-public “Story”. The private message snaps can then be viewed for a user-specified length of time before they become inaccessible. Users can also add friends via usernames and phone contacts or through the “Add Nearby” function.

In July 2016, Snapchat introduced a new, optional feature known as “Memories”; which allows snaps and story posts to be saved into a private storage area, from where they can be viewed at any point in the future from the stored device. Snaps accessible within Memories can additionally be placed into a “My Eyes Only” area that is locked with a PIN.