Monday, April 22, 2019
Augmented RealityNews

Snap Partner Summit Launches New AR Updates for Snapchat

Snap Inc. is stepping up their game with new updates to their app and more.

Snap Inc. held its first-ever tech conference called Snap Partner Summit on April 4th. The company made announcements for their messaging app Snapchat and its AR features, and added more app integrations for developers and creators.

Lens Studio

During the conference, viewers learned that Snap’s Lense Studio is so popular that it’s like an odometer that keeps turning over. So far, creators have made over 400,000 augmented reality Lenses and have accumulated 15 billion views and counting.

What are Snap Lenses? When users take a picture or video of themselves and their friends to communicate, they use AR  filters. You’ve likely seen them or used them yourself. They make us glow like an extraterrestrial model, give us ears like Dumbo, or make us look scary like that girl in Pet Sematary.

Those of us that want to expand on our creativity will be getting hand, body, and pet tracking to make Lenses for or to use. So users can take funny portraits with their pets and share it on social media. This also allows users to place new images on their bodies instead of only on the face. Back and forth Snaps are going to be even cuter and zanier with this update.

Landmarkers, AR Bar, and Scan

Snapchatters also got the Landmarker Lenses update. The Landmarker Lenses add 2D and 3D images on top of 5 locations (more soon). There are images online that made the Flatiron Building look like a cheesy pizza with augmented reality.

Snapchat AR

Snapchat’s Snapcode system, that yellow scannable code with an icon in the middle, is a feature that can be used with Lenses and Filters made by designers and creatives. In the future, the new AR Bar and Scan features will identify products and scannable barcodes that will take you to Amazon. Currently, music fans can begin scanning their environment with Shazam to identify a song before it ends. Even GIPHY is getting in on the action with instant gif add-ons.

New Creator Profiles

Bobby Murphy, Snapchat’s co-founder, announced that creators will now have Creator Profiles that are “dedicated spaces to showcase their work and learn about their audience.” Once creators design a generation of new Lenses for Landmarkers and body tracking, they’ll be able to make the world “come alive” like never before!

Snap Kits

Customizing Bitmojis to look like us is part of what makes Snapchat so unique. Now, the app will be partnering with Venmo and Fitbit. This is not AR, but it is helping to make exercise and paying for stuff more fun.

The app’s Creative Kit is now added to new partner platforms. Developers use this kit to assist brands in building Snap-ready filters, stickers, and more for Snaps and Stories. In return, they can do so without charge for distribution and get clicks to their link or app.

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Who’s partnering up? So far Netflix and GoFundMe are all in on augmented reality. VSCO, which allows creators to edit images and post to Snapchat, is too.

Breaker, the podcast-hosting app is using the kit to share your favorite tunes onto the app. Music fans in the Middle East and India are going to use AR to show what their listening to in the moment. Anghami and JioSaavn are using Snap’s Creative Kit to do so.

Story Kit for publishers and broadcasters is also expanding to App Stories. Tinder is jumping aboard so users can capture and show off their personality with Snaps on their dating profile. Houseparty’s group chat is also joining so friends will be able to have a group chat in a fresh new way.

Staycationers, vacationers, and adventurers are getting a treat. The app partnered with Adventure Aide to collab with local guides to create stories that will inspire guests to get outdoors and be active.

A Word About Snap Kit Privacy

At the summit, Ben Schwerin, VP of Partnership, said “Snap Kit respects the privacy of our community.” Going on to say, “Privacy is essential to self expression and Snap Kit was built on that foundation.” So, those who are using Snap Kit get to choose “if, when, and how they share their information with their partners.”

There are over 200 apps using Snap Kit and more expected with these new updates. It’s a great move on Snap’s part to give creators that kind of privacy control over their content. Giving more power to the creator instead of the partner.

Snap Games

Snapchat was release almost eight years ago. Now, the AR-infused multimedia messaging app is joining the billion-dollar gaming industry so we can all play mini-games together. Announcements at the summit revealed that the games began launching on April 4th.

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Wondering if the new games would be using AR, we reached out to Snap Inc. and they told us the games aren’t directly using the technology. Although we won’t be blending our reality with Snap’s games, there are lots of new games to enjoy.

The app’s games include Snap Inc.’s Bitmoji Party, which comes with four mini-games. Other full games include Alphabear Hustle (Spry Fox), Crash Arena Turbo Stars Drift Race (ZeptoLab), and 3 other mobile games.

Juanita Leatham
the authorJuanita Leatham
Juanita is a writer for the AR, VR, and spatial realms. You can find her gaming, listening to music, writing, and hanging out with her husband and friends in her free time.