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How to Use Snapchat: Share Vanishing Photos with Snap Chat

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Snapchat for Android and iPhone
Snapchat welcome screen

Snapchat welcome screen

©Snapchat

The free Snapchat photo messaging app is available for both iPhone/iOS and Android devices. Here's where you can download the apps:

Snap's Philosophy: "Shared, Not Saved"

Snapchat's tagline is "real-time picture chatting" On its website, Snapchat says that the company's philosophy is, "There is value in the ephemeral. Great conversations are magical. That's because they are shared, enjoyed, but not saved."

The founders compare it to passing notes in class and say people may like an alternative to the more permanent storage of the messages on Facebook. By contrast, snap photos and videos are meant to be impermanent and ephemeral media, more like conversation than anything else.

Facebook Poke - Too Little, Too Late?

Facebook released a free copycat app called Poke in December 2012 that also lets users share photos that disappear after viewing. Poke offers similar features to Snapchat, such as text overlays or captioning right on the image. Pole also offers the ability to send text-only messages that vanish fter viewing, too.

But Poke didn't prove to be anywhere near as popular as Snapchat, and its owner wound up removing it from from the Apple iTunes apps store in May 2014. Facebook tried to buy Snapchat for a reported $3 billion in 2013, but Snapchat's founders turned down the offer.

Facebook's Slingshot: Trying Again

In June 2014, Facebook released another disappearing message app in an apparent attempt to compete with Snapchat. Called Slingshot, its twist is that the recipient has to send a message back before they can view the incoming message.

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