Snapchat now does video. The photo messaging app, which lets users exchange pictures timed to disappear within seconds, now allows you to record and share small snippets of video. Each message can be up to ten seconds long, and the same rules apply: you get only one chance to watch each movie clip, after which it will vanish from your inbox. In explaining why his company considers video to be a worthwhile endeavor, CEO Evan Spiegel said the inherent brevity that Snapchat offers could appeal to people that may otherwise shy away from a camcorder. "People are incredibly self conscious about video," he says. "If you think photos are bad, imagine listening to yourself and seeing how awkward you are."
The app is proving astonishingly popular; one month ago, over 20 million images were being shared through Snapchat each day. That total has since ballooned to more than 50 million. Still, there are many concerns when it comes to how something that amounts to a "burner" service is being used. Many criticize the app as a care-free avenue for sexting, though Spiegel has repeatedly sought to play down that theory. Instead, he attributes the craze surrounding his company to our natural urge to share what's happening in our lives. And video will only enhance that sharing capability, he says. "As moments unfold, you have to decide 'is this a photo or a video?'" he says. The formula behind that choice is fairly straightforward. "If it's a short moment, it's a photo. If it's a long moment, it's a video." The latest, video-enabled version of Snapchat is free and available now.