Dec 02, 2013

    Now, taking feline selfies is a snap


    SNAPCHAT thinks it's worth more than US$3 billion (S$3.8 billion). Snapcat, a similarly named but unaffiliated photo-sharing application designed for cats, probably isn't, but that's OK.

    Facebook offered the hefty price for Snapchat in the hope of scooping up the app's adoring teenage fan base, which can't seem to get enough of disappearing photos.

    But Facebook hasn't expressed the same interest in acquiring feline users. That's a shame because you could buy some serious Fancy Feast with that scratch.

    Snapcat (without the H) is an Android app that lures curious house cats with an irresistible red dot jumping around the screen. The cursor doubles as a camera shutter button.

    When the cat slaps the dot, the phone or tablet takes a pictures using the device's front-facing camera. The result: cat selfies.

    The pet's owner can manually add Instagram-style photo filters, and then share them on Facebook, Twitter or EyeEm. The latter is a photo-sharing service developed by the Berlin-based start-up EyeEm Mobile, where Snapcat was born.

    During a hackathon in June, four EyeEm employees and one from, another Berlin company, developed the Snapcat app and website over the course of about 20 hours, according to Mr Matias Castello, one of the developers who is a product manager at EyeEm.

    The cat used in the app's promotional material is Mr Castello's furry feline, Cali. She is also a beta tester of the product.

    The United States, Japan and China are Snapcat's biggest markets, and the software has been downloaded at least 10,000 times, according to Google's Play website.

    "We've seen a few copycats appear in the past few months," Mr Castello wrote in an e-mail message. "We'd like to port the app to iPad next as we've received a lot of requests for it."