Snapchat's latest update has one useful feature, two just for fun

Snapchat's been on an update roll lately and that continues today with three new features for the disappearing chat app's iOS and Android editions.

The first and by far most useful feature is the ability to share links with friends in Snaps. By tapping the new paperclip icon in the vertical toolkit, you can share a website link that your pals can swipe up to view inside the app. 

It's a simple addition, but one that should prove helpful for those who want to share and receive pertinent links to outside sites. 

From left: Snapchat backdrops, link sharing and voice filters

From left: Snapchat backdrops, link sharing and voice filters

Next up is backdrops for Snaps, a feature that's firmly in Snapchat's wheel house. To access backdrops, tap the scissors icon in the vertical toolkit and look for the new backdrop icon. 

You'll next highlight the figures or area you want to stand out from the backdrop, then select a pattern or graphic to place in the background. Snapchat will introduce a new batch of backdrops every day. 

Disappearing wars

Finally, Snapchat is bringing voice filters to all. Previously sequestered to Lenses, voice filters are after-Snap effects that let you change your voice to sound like a chipmunk (natch), robot or other creature. 

You'll first record a Snap, then select the speaker icon on the bottom of the screen and pick from a smattering of sound effects. 

Snapchat isn't setting the chat app world on fire with this update, but as the competition tightens between itself, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and particularly Instagram Stories for users' attention, introducing fun - and somewhat useful - features is one way Snapchat can stay in the race.

Stories, Instagram's take on disappearing posts, already has over 200 million daily users, putting it well above Snapchat's last updated figure of 158 million daily users, according to Engadget

Instagram Stories has been known to ape Snapchat's features in the past, so it may not be long before we see updates similar to today's land on the Facebook-owned service.

Michelle Fitzsimmons

Michelle was previously a news editor at TechRadar, leading consumer tech news and reviews. Michelle is now a Content Strategist at Facebook.  A versatile, highly effective content writer and skilled editor with a keen eye for detail, Michelle is a collaborative problem solver and covered everything from smartwatches and microprocessors to VR and self-driving cars.