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Snapchat is rolling out group video chat, parent company Snap announced Tuesday.
The new feature could help users stay engaged and spend even more time in the app. Snap's growth rate has steadily increased, with its North American daily active user rate growing 17.7 percent last quarter from the previous year. For comparison, rival Facebook grew at a more stagnant 2.2 percent. Internal reports have also shown users spend more time on Snap than Instagram. It will also match a feature in Facebook's Messenger app.
The new feature will allow 16 people can be on video during one call, or 32 people if they use the voice-only feature. Face filter lenses can be used during the calls, and only friends of users on the call can be added in. Snapchat currently allows video chats, but only between two users. The improvement will roll out to all users over the next week or so.
Snapchat also announced it will add Mentions, where you can @ a specific username to tag them in a snap. The other user will be notified that they were included in a story.
In addition to Facebook Messenger, Google Hangouts and Skype already offer group video chat options. Start-ups also pose competition Houseparty — a teen-focused video chat app created by Meerkat founder Ben Rubin, Yevvo co-founder Itai Danino and former Tumblr executive Sima Sistani — has about 20 million users with an average session time of 51 minutes, the company told BuzzFeed News.
Snapchhat averages about 187 million daily active users, with people visiting the app about 25 times each day, according to the company.