Snap Inc. announces new Augmented Reality and camera search experiences

April 04, 2019 – Snap Inc. has today announced new augmented reality and camera search experiences for creators, partners, and Snapchat users.

Lenses are Snap’s augmented reality product that combine AR technology with the creativity of the Snapchat community. On average, more than 70% of daily active users play with or view a Lens every day on the service, according to the company.

Scan is Snap’s camera search experience, where users can press and hold on the Snapchat camera screen to Scan and unlock relevant experiences based on what is in the viewfinder or environment. This can include the scanning of a Snapcode to unlock special Filters and Lenses, scanning a physical product or barcode to surface search results on Amazon, or pressing and holding while listening to music to learn more about what’s playing through an integration with Shazam.

Lens Studio and ‘Landmarkers’

Snap’s Lens Studio is a free, publicly available desktop app for anyone to build and distribute Lenses on Snapchat. Lens Studio packages Snap’s computer vision and graphics technology into templates for creators. According to the company, more than 400,000 Lenses have been created by Snap’s community through Lens Studio, and those Lenses have been interacted with over 15 billion times.

The company is updating Lens Studio to include more capabilities for Lens creation, including templates for hand tracking, body tracking, and pet tracking. For the first time, Lens Studio will also include templates for Snap’s new ‘Landmarker’ Lens experiences. These Lenses enable AR experiences that can transform the some of the world’s most iconic landmarks in real-time.

Templates for five locations are available to creators and Snapchat users today, including: Buckingham Palace (London), United States Capitol Building (Washington, D.C.), Eiffel Tower (Paris), Flatiron Building (New York City), and the TCL Chinese Theater (Los Angeles). Snap stated that there will be more Landmarker Lenses to follow.

AR Bar and Scan

Snap is also introducing a new, unified Lens experience on the platform and additional camera search capabilities – ‘AR Bar’ and ‘Scan’.

AR Bar is designed to make it easier for Snapchat users to discover and navigate Lenses and camera search experiences on Snapchat, allowing them to create, scan, browse, and explore all in one place. AR Bar will also feature the new Scan button, designed to surface contextually relevant Lenses and camera-based experiences. With Scan, relevant Lenses, including those created by Snap’s public community through Lens Studio, will dynamically surface for Snapchat users based on what is in the camera view. The company stated that these features will begin rolling out soon, but did not specify a date.

Snap is also introducing new Scan partners. In partnership with Photomath, Snapchat users will be able to point the Snapchat camera at a math equation to see the solution appear within the camera. Additionally, a new integration with partner GIPHY will invite users to decorate their Snaps with contextually relevant, dynamically generated GIF Lenses based on what’s in the Snapchat camera view.

Video credit: Snap Inc./YouTube

About the author

Sam Sprigg

Sam is the Founder and Managing Editor of Auganix. With a background in research and report writing, he has been covering XR industry news for the past seven years.