Snapchat is introducing several new features this week, including the ability to make group video calls and a “Mentions” feature that allows users to tag friends in snaps uploaded onto Stories. Mentions were first rumored last month.
To tag a friend, just start typing in “@,” spell out the username of the person, then tap on the name you want tagged. People who see the tagged snap will be able to swipe up and add the person as a friend or watch any public stories they’ve posted. The person you tag will be notified in the chat window that they’ve been mentioned in your story.
The tagging of friends in ephemeral 24-hour snaps is something already available on Instagram Stories, marking a reversal of flow that generally saw Facebook’s Instagram lifting Snapchat features. Snap said the feature is something “influencers / celebs will be particularly excited about.” That’s true, given that it will allow these users the ability to easily tag a brand or company they might be promoting with a click-through link for their followers.
The video chat feature, meanwhile, will allow up to 16 friends to conduct a video chat with each other simultaneously. If you have more people who want to participate, up to 32 people can join a group voice chat instead. Snapchat initially introduced one-on-one voice and video calling back in 2016 and said users are making millions of calls on Snapchat each day.
To use the video group chat feature, enter an existing group chat you already have, or start a new group. Tap the video icon to start a live group video chat, or tap on the phone icon for a voice call. The members of the group will be notified that they’ve been invited to a call. When they enter the video chat, you’ll get an alert above your keyboard to let you know they’ve joined. If you don’t want to use your camera, you can toggle it off and join with just voice. Users will also be able to filter Snapchat lenses over their faces, like the epochal rainbow vomiting mouth or puppy dog ears.
As we’ve noted before, Facebook-owned Instagram has long borrowed features from Snapchat, including lifting its stories feature, which plays photos and videos that last for 24 hours. That’s likely to continue, given that recent analysis of Instagram’s code has also pointed to potential voice and video calling features from within the app.
Over the past few months, Snapchat has added a mountain of new features in a bid to attract more users including: Map Explore; deluxe Bitmoji customization; Giphy integration; and custom face lenses. Snap says the new video group call and tagging features will roll out globally over the next week or so.