Snapchat tests video-sharing in its Android app

Android users of a Snapchat app had a brief chance this week to try out the app's video-sharing feature. Users of the iOS version of the app are already able to send both self-destructing photos and video.

Android users, however, have been limited to sharing photos.

"Come on, man," groused Nook Nguyen in comments on Google Play. "We want to be cool like those iPhone kids." He rated the app one star. Its overall rating in the Google Play store is 3.5 stars on more than 22,500 reviews.

Snapchat announced a "beta" version of its Android app with video support on its Twitter page Monday night. The announcement didn't say that the beta had an expiration period attached to it—much like the photos and videos shared through its app. The private beta ended at 5 a.m. ET Tuesday.

Background

Snapchat was one of 2012's hottest tech startups, and just last week the company received another $13.5 million in capital from Benchmark Capital. Benchmark estimates Snapshot is already worth $60 million to $70 million.

Snapchat's success attracted the attention of Facebook, which revamped its "Poke" feature to offer the kind of self-destructing capabilities found in the startup's app.

If Facebook hoped to toss some water on Snapchat's hot popularity, its move initially backfired. Following the release of Facebook Poke, the buzz around Snapchat was louder than ever, reported social media and web analytics firm Topsy.

Images and videos not destroyed?

Although both Snapchat and Facebook Poke are supposed to destroy photos and videos after up to 10 seconds, the media can be easily accessed with a file browser, as Buzzfeed discovered.

When photos and videos are received from Snapchat and Poke, they're stored as temporary files on a smartphone. If you load a Snapchat or Poke message but don't open it, the media file attached to the message will sit in a file folder on your phone.

By hooking up your handset to a computer, you can use a file-browsing program to pull the files off your phone and onto your PC where they can live forever, as well as be shared without restriction.

In addition to Buzzfeed's maneuver for saving "self-destructing" media, you can do screen grabs of photos as they're displayed on your phone. If you do that, though, Shapchat and Poke will alert the sender of what you're up to.

Not a problem

Both Facebook and Snapchat don't seem to be too concerned about security holes in their apps.

"The people who most enjoy using Snapchat are those who embrace the spirit and intent of the service," Snapchat founder Evan Spiegel told Buzzfeed. "There will always be ways to reverse engineer technology products—but that spoils the fun!"

Facebook had similar sentiments. "Poke is a fun and easy way to communicate with your friends and is not designed to be a secure messaging system," a spokesperson for the Social Network told TechNewsWorld.

One has to wonder if the users of these Mission Impossible apps feel the same way. After all, how much fun would it for a photo that you wanted to see disappear after 10 seconds actually end up in front of the eyeballs of a potential employer?

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