Snapchat, the long-time mobile-exclusive messaging app has finally launched a PC version called Snapchat for Web. However, it has one major flaw compared to Discord and other desktop-based messaging applications – you have to pay to use it right now.
Just like the mobile original, Snapchat for Web will let users share snaps, talk in text chats, and even video calls, but now these can be done from a PC too. What’s more, Snapchat's iconic feature that sees messages delete themselves after 24 hours also makes a return.
However, while this all sounds great – especially for Snapchat users that want new convenient ways to access their favorite social media platform – Snapchat for Web is currently exclusive to Snapchat Plus subscribers.
Snapchat Plus is a paid version of the messaging app that unlocks early-access features for those willing to pay a monthly fee. It’s not the most expensive subscription out there at just $3.99 / £3.99 / AU$4.89 per month, but it is infinitely more expensive than the likes of Discord and other free-to-use messaging services.
At a time when many of us are looking to cut costs, Snapchat Plus (and by extension Snapchat for Web) feels completely unnecessary.
That’s especially true when you consider that Snapchat for Web isn’t even a finished product. Lenses – Snapchat’s famous AR filters – aren’t yet available for web calls, offering a serious disadvantage over the smartphone version of the app. If users are expected to pay for the service, we’d expect it to be at least as good as the free version that already exists.
Adding insult to injury, the service is only available in the US, UK, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. There are plans to expand it to users all across the world eventually, but we’ll have to see when that pans out.
Analysis: another reason not to pay for Snapchat Plus
Snapchat for Web’s disappointing rollout has yet again seen Snap fail to give us a reason to pay for its paid tier. Earlier this month our Software & Downloads expert Daryl Baxter tried out Snapchat Plus and instantly cancelled it.
Snap Maps, a tool that lets users see where their friends are on a map of the globe was already weird enough, but the new Ghost Trail made it feel even more invasive. Not only will you be able to see where your friends are right now, but you’ll see a trail of where they’ve been in the last 24 hours.
This setting can be switched off, but if a person isn’t aware of it then they could be blasting out their private location data without realizing – which in certain circumstances could mean they’re unknowingly putting themselves in danger.
If Snapchat Plus is to succeed we’ll need its updates to actually offer a reason to subscribe, as right now it’s only encouraging us to stay well away.