Snapchat has started rolling out new “world lenses,” a twist on its popular face-altering selfie lenses that you can now use to add some pizzazz to your surroundings. Starting today, tapping the camera screen while using the rear-facing camera will bring up the new lenses, which let you add 3-dimensional, animated objects to your snaps. At launch, the lineup includes a crying cloud, a smiling rainbow, blossoming flowers, and a colorful “OMG” sign. Snap says the lineup will change daily, presumably to encourage usage. Snap first started testing these new lenses in November.
What Brands Need To Do
This update comes at a time when Snap is facing mounting challenges from its major rival Facebook, whose aggressive tactics of cloning Snapchat’s camera-oriented features have seemingly started to take effects. The timing is even more deliberate considering today is the first day of Facebook’s annual developer event F8, where the social network is expected to double down on camera-powered mobile AR features similar to the “world lenses.”
As Facebook and Snap continue to duke it out over adding AR features to their apps, more and more mainstream consumers are starting to get accustomed to using these camera-powered AR features as a result. This is what is laying the groundwork for mobile-powered augmented reality to take off, which will allow brands to infiltrate their target audience’s photos and videos via sponsored Lens or branded AR objects.
Besides, this is a good time to think about ways for augmented reality to drive new opportunities for your brand. AR can, for example, be a great way for customers to envision your products in their lives and to launch digital experiences from signage or product packaging. What we can do now through a smartphone is just the beginning. As Microsoft’s HoloLens, Magic Leap, and the rumored Apple glasses roll out over the next few years, lots more will be possible.