Snapchat sets itself apart from other photo and video sharing apps with its unique use of a "self-delete" timer. That is, the app lets you impose a finite lifespan on your shares so they can only be viewed for a few seconds before being automatically deleted beyond retrieval.
While there's certainly an argument that the seconds-long lifespan aspect is useless, Snapchat's immense popularity, especially with teenagers and young adults, suggests otherwise. Apparently, there are a lot of people out there who love the idea of sending out secret photos and videos, without leaving any evidence of ever having done so.
After you download and install Snapchat, you must first create an account with a valid e-mail address to start. Since there are no Facebook or Google log-in options, this unfortunately means you'll have to remember yet another username-and-password combo. Once you're in, Snapchat parses your address book (if you grant it permission) for any contacts that are already using the app. There's also an option to invite friends who aren't.
To share items, you don't necessarily have to "friend" your friends within the Snapchat app. In fact, you can send a "snap" to anyone, whether it be someone you know or a stranger you've found through Snapchat's search tool. That said, many users do adjust their privacy settings to receive snaps only from friends, so there is a chance that strangers may not receive your snaps.
Simple and intuitive, Snapchat's interface is made up of only three screens. First is your Snapchat contacts list, where you'll find a search tool for adding new friends. Second is your activity feed, which gives you a rundown of contacts you've added and snaps you've sent and received. And third is the Snapchat camera, which is decidedly simple, as it has only a Flash toggle and a front-to-rear camera switch. To use the camera, you can tap the shutter button for a still or hold the shutter button down to record up to 7 seconds of low-quality video. What the app doesn't do is import existing items from your Gallery for sharing through Snapchat.