This is an interesting one. Reports have circulated today that Snapchat has purchased Bitstrips, the cartoon/emoji hybrid that enables you to transform yourself into an animated character.
If you use Facebook (which you do), you're no doubt well aware of Bitstrips. A few years back Bitstrips were all over The Social Network, with personalized comic images like this being circulated at high velocity.
After seeing initial success with their comic strip approach, Bitstrips translated the functionality into an app called Bitmoji, which enables users to create a customized cartoon image of themselves, then put their likeness into a wide range of emoji responses, triggered via an in-app keyboard.
The app's proved a big success, regularly ranking in the top 10 for utility apps (as per App Annie) with a range of big name celebrities and high profile users helping boost interest.
As to what Snapchat might have planned for Bitmoji, no one knows at this stage. Neither Snapchat nor Bitstrips have confirmed the deal, which is reportedly worth somewhere in the vicinity of $100 million. Some commentators have speculated that Snapchat will look to introduce the personal emoji option into the Snapchat experience, giving users another way to decorate their snaps alongside the already available emoji, filter and in-built drawing options. If that's the approach Snapchat takes, Bitstrips emoji could also act as a form of personal branding - you could create your own Bitmoji logo with your title and attach that to every snap you take, that way, if your snap content is re-used in a Live Story or captured via screenshot, it would still be aligned to your brand and would hel boost awareness (I've used a random Star Wars Bitmoji here, but you get the idea).
Other outlets have suggested that given Bitstrips' experience with keyboard integration, Snapchat could use the service to better integrate Snapchat features into smartphone keyboards.
There's also the possibility of improved Bitmoji functionality by combining the animated characters with Snapchat's facial recognition technology via Looksery, the company behind Snapchat's face-altering Lenses. Given the growing focus on video, Snapchat could look to integrate Looksery and Bitmoji to create fully animated, hyper accurate cartoon depictions of users, based on people's actual facial features.
That would obviously pose a more significant challenge to implement, but it would definitely be more attention-grabbing than simply adding Bitmoji characters into the Snapchat experience.
Right now, this is all speculation, no one knows exactly what Snapchat is planning to do with Bitstrips, but given Facebook's recent acquisition of MSQRD - an image altering app similar to Looksery - it's pretty safe to assume that Snapchat's working on the next big thing, and that Bitmoji will play a significant part in a coming big announcement.