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

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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, you can share a website link that your pals can swipe up to view. It's a simple addition, but one that should prove helpful for those who want to share and receive pertinent links to outside sites. 

Next up is backdrops for Snaps, a feature that's firmly in Snapchat's wheel house. To access backdrops, tap the new icon in the scissors tool section. You'll next highlight the figures you want untouched by the effect, 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. 

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

Snapchat isn't setting the chat app world on fire with these updates, 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. 

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

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