Snapchat has become popular for its ultra-flattering and silly filters, offering a variety of overlays that will make just about anyone look flawless (or even look like a mouse if desired). Now, Snapchat is upping their facial filter offerings. The app will offer “World Lenses,” a technology using the budding “augmented reality” technology that allows users to interact with 3D objects in any scene that you can view on your phone’s camera. The new feature will essentially allow Snapchat users to view the graphics or lenses through their camera in a real time as they move through the space.
Snapchat isn’t keen however, on labeling their new feature “augmented reality” or “AR.” Instead, the app’s announcement of the latest addition emphasized its more sell-able talking points, including how the app allows users to “paint the world” with “3D experiences.” But tech reporters are comparing the World Filters to the Nintendo 3DS, which included augmented reality cards that let gamers “…virtually interact with 3D graphics that looked like they were anchored to, and blended with, the real world.”
Other hyped AR predecessors including the short lived (though wildly popular) Pokemon GO App, made use of this technology. Its widespread use among a variety of age groups seems to indicate that this type of experience may be the way of the future for social media platforms to keep consumers excited by their software in an increasingly competitive market.
Instagram and Facebook have recently added new Snapchat-like features to their platforms. Instagram has already added Snapchat-like stories to the platform and has adopted disappearing photo and video capabilities into their direct messaging tool. Facebook is also catching on to the instant-gratification tools offered by their peers, offering a new stories feature to users as well.
Despite efforts of imitation, Snapchat’s unique features seem to remain most popular to its loyal Gen-Z fan base who enjoy the fun filters and silly effects of lenses — while Facebook and Instagram seem to do best with users who like a more professional or simply more “curated” representation of their lives.