WeChat, the Chinese messaging giant with over 1 billion monthly active users around the world, just added a Snap-like ephemeral video feature as part of its biggest overhaul since 2014.
The revamp comes as Tencent, which owns stakes in Snap, sees increasing rivalry from up-and-comers like video app TikTok and news app Jinri Toutiao. WeChat has over the years morphed beyond a straight-up messenger to include many utility purposes. With more than 1 million lightweight apps up and running, users can accomplish a long list of tasks ranging from shopping to ride-hailing without ever having to leave WeChat.
Meanwhile, some have expressed frustration over WeChat’s core as a social app. Moments, a feature akin to Facebook News Feed, was once a haven for close friends to share articles, photos and videos. But newsfeed content became blander over time as people’s contact list grows to include their bosses and their local fruit seller who needs to be added as a friend to process WeChat payments.
WeChat founder Allen Zhang is known for his obsession with user experience and has been cautious with tweaks, so a major redesign to the super app is effectively a guidebook for where WeChat is headed for the next few years.
The new off-the-cuff video feature, aptly named “Time Capsule,” is one of WeChat’s more noticeable updates. In the past, users shared videos to three main destinations: A friend, a group chat or Moments. This route remains unchanged but with Time Capsule, users can also upload videos of up to 15 seconds that disappear after 24 hours, similar to how Snap Stories and its slew of clones including Instagram Stories work. Meanwhile, Snap has also drawn inspiration from Chinese apps in a recent redesign.
Source: Tech Crunch