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Whatsapp Meets Instagram

The latest HOT app, Snapchat, has everyone talking about the lifespan of content.

Snapchat, often described as the next Instagram, allows users to send self-destructing photos and videos to friends. Photos, videos, drawings and text are sent back and forth like MMS, and then deleted from the recipient device and company servers in under 10 seconds.

The Stamford students who launched Snapchat believe that fleeting messages have an allure. With photo-sharing on Snapchat having increased threefold in just four months, many obviously agree. Snapchat Founder and CEO Evan Spiegal has stated that his primary users, 13-25 year olds, have a fear of lasting ramifications of online communication, which has “taken the fun out of communicating”. Snapchat is a way to share moments with friends and not just a pretty picture.

After raising $13.5 million in early February, Snapchat launched the Android version of its photo-sharing app, which has taken off crazily on iOS. Snapchat became immensely popular late last year, even prompting Facebook to create a mobile app called Poke that mimics Snapchats disappearing images and videos. Needless to say, Facebook Poke never caught on and hasn’t done much to stop the wildly impressive growth of Snapchat. Users are now sending more than 150 million photos on the service everyday, which is huge when you consider that mega-popular photo-sharing service Instagram sees 40 million images taken a day.

Worryingly there has been lots of warnings about the potential dangers of Snapchat when it comes to sharing private or personal pictures and messages, particularly among minors. After all iOS users can easily take a screen shot in order to save any image before it self-destructs. Snapchat has incorporated functionality wherein a user will be alerted when an image recipient takes a screen shot. That, of course, wont do anything to delete the photo in question but it seems to be an effective deterrent against users trying to save photos meant to disappear.

The question now is whether or not CEO and co-founder Evan Spiegel will be able to monetize the popularity. At last weeks AllThingsD’s mobile conference earlier this week Spiegel hinted at the possibility of adds in the photo-sharing app stating that they had been playing around with some prototypes.

The app is currently free on iPhone and Android, download it here.

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