Snapchat and the alternatives: Four photo and video messaging apps

Harry Tunnecliffe
13 August, 2014
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App Guide

When talking photo and video messaging apps, there is one word that comes to mind – Snapchat. Everyone has, by now, either been using the app for some time, or at least heard about it. But there are alternatives starting to surface, and this has been accelerated by new entries from social media giants Facebook and Instagram (now part of the same company). This guide will introduce you to the leader – Snapchat – and some of its new competition.



Photo & Video

Snapchat Inc.



The most well-known and popular photo and video messaging app, Snapchat is very simple – snap a photo or video, add a caption and send it to a friend. Choose how long you want a friend to see (up to 10 seconds), and the photo will automatically be deleted from the recipient’s phone – unless they take a screenshot (you will be notified if this occurs). Newer features include private text messaging, and Story mode – photo and video messages that lasts for 24 hours and can be viewed more than once by all contacts.



Social Networking

Mobli Media Inc.



Mirage shares the same Snapchat features of sending media that can only be viewed once. But there are a couple of key differences. The screen is split in two horizontally, enabling you to view your camera and contacts list at the same time – tapping a contact results in a photo or video being instantly taken and sent to them. You can also send content to friends who don’t have the app – they receive a link to the Mirage website to view the content.



Photo & Video




Facebook’s new offering also shares the same basic features as Snapchat, with three main differences. First, ‘Slingshot’ refers to the way you view photos and videos from friends – you must send a photo or video in order to ‘unlock’ the content that has been sent to you. Secondly, once you unlock the content, you can view without a time limit – but still only once. Thirdly, you can send an instant text reply, overlayed over the original photo received.



Photo & Video

Instagram Inc.



Despite parent company Facebook recently releasing Slingshot, Instagram also just released its own instant photo and video messaging app. Again, it shares the same ideas as Snapchat, but it is also very similar to Mirage – you use your phone contacts, and your contacts are displayed as icons, which act as the shutter button. Tap your contact icon and the content is instantly sent to them. Unlike Snapchat, you can only send a photo/video to one person at a time. Uniquely, you can ‘shake to unsend’ to retract your photo/video within the first few seconds of sending it.


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