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Snapchat has rolled out a group chat feature to let you message 16 friends

The Snapchat Inc. application (app) is seen on an on an Apple Inc. iPhone.
Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images
The Snapchat Inc. application (app) is seen on an on an Apple Inc. iPhone.

Snapchat has quietly rolled out a group messaging function that lets users chat with up to 16 friends, as it adds more features to challenge Facebook's platforms.

On Tuesday, Snap Inc, the ephemeral messaging app's owner, announced Groups. Users can open a regular chat and add names. At the bottom of the group message, each participant's name will be listed so a user can easily tap it and be taken to a one-on-one chat as well.

Chats sent to a group message are deleted after 24 hours.

It appears Snapchatters have been asking for this feature for a long time, users taking to Twitter to express their delight at its roll out.

Snapchat is also rolling out a tool called "Scissors" which lets users cut out part of a Snap on the preview screen and turn it in to a virtual sticker. Another tool called "Paintbrush" lets your draw on snaps in "Memories" – which are snaps you have saved.

By introducing Groups, Snap Inc is adding another feature that can help it compete against the likes of WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, as well as the plethora of other messaging apps available. Snapchat has faced increasing competition from Facebook via Instagram with a feature called "Stories" which is very similar.

For now, Groups is limited to sending text-based messages and emojis, stickers, photos, video. But recently, Snapchat introduced a video calling feature for one-on-one conversations. There is no indication if this will come to group chats, but it's clear the potential is there.

Snapchat has been working hard to boost its product as well as advertising features as it looks to raise revenues ahead of a potential initial public offering (IPO) reportedly taking place next year.