Snapchat, the instant messaging app where you send somebody a picture that self-destructs except not really, is worth $3 billion to Facebook and $4 billion to Google. This despite the fact that their lack of profit is quite literally a joke. So why do Google and Facebook both want something that’ll be worthless next year?
The short answer is two very different reasons from two very different companies. Take Facebook; their strategy, dealing with competitors, is to buy them if possible and lock them out of the site if not. So, essentially, if you use Snapchat, expect Facebook to suddenly magically offer the same feature set on Messenger within six months.
Google, on the other hand, likes data and eyeballs, and Snapchat has plenty of both. True, the photos are supposed to “self-destruct”, but removing them from your phone isn’t the same thing as removing them from, say, Google’s servers. Google’s plan was likely to slap some ads on the app and use the data it collects for other projects.
So, where does that leave Snapchat? Dead in a year, most likely. Now that it’s made clear that it doesn’t want to be bought for a paltry couple of billion, it’s likely going to be imitated by both Google and Facebook, and be promptly driven out of business since both of those companies are money making entities, and Snapchat isn’t. This is an arc we’ve seen before, after all. Expect the app to start putting up ads, and then expect the userbase to drop before the company is sold for a few million bucks… probably to Facebook or Google.