The Verge On The The Snapchat 7.0 Update(▼)(▲)
May 2, 2014
The Verge has an excellent profile of the new Snapchat 7.0 update, including quotes from an interview they did with Snapchat founder Evan Spiegel.
The update is the biggest since Snapchat's inception, adding both text chat and video calling capabilities, but Snapchat has implemented both of these in an innovative, unconventional manner.
The whole article is excellent, but here are a few of my favorite excerpts:
To Spiegel, the reason none of his friends video call each other on a daily basis is because "calling" was born of an era where software needed to emulate real-world tools. "What does a phone look like without a ringer?" he asks. Skeuomorphic metaphors have always been a part of computing, Spiegel says, because that’s how we all learned to use computers. "But," he says, "the biggest constraint of the next 100 years of computing is the idea of metaphors."
He sums up his idea more neatly. "For Snapchat, the closer we can get to ‘I want to talk to you’ — that emotion of wanting to see you and then seeing you — the better and better our product and our view of the world will be." To Spiegel, the future of communication isn’t about rethinking or upgrading phone calls as Skype, FaceTime, and Hangouts have done. It’s about imagining a future that leaves the phone metaphor behind entirely.
"We’re trying to get rid of these weird boxes that we put media into and get to the essence of conversation — that we’re both here," says Spiegel.
If we weren't sure why Evan Spiegel turned down Facebook's $3 billion acquisition offer last year, this update and The Verge's interview make it pretty clear. Spiegel doesn't want to make boatloads of money, he wants to make a true difference in the way people communicate.
Snapchat 7.0 is the first step toward that goal, the first attempt to break free from the constraints of the "phone call" metaphor. I really like the implementations of these new features, and I'm excited to see what Snapchat does next.