Thursday, August 5, 2021
Augmented RealityNews

Snap Brings AR Lenses to Viber

Snap-style lenses and Bitmojis on a full messaging app? Sign us up.

 

Snap Bitmojis and the power of their camera and creator kits are finding a new home thanks to a new partnership with Rakuten Viber. We’ll take a look at the announcement including how the partnership benefits both companies and, of course, how it benefits you.

The Team

The company behind Snapchat and Spectacles has put a lot of work into AR lenses and the creator community behind them. Just back in May, the company announced the fourth generation of Lens Studio. Snap has also put a lot of work into Bitmojis – the personalized and ever-expressive user avatars.

Viber BitmojiDespite this, these lenses and avatars have largely remained on-platform. In the same announcement in May, the company announced that Bitmojis would soon be playable in some games developed with Unity in what ARPost then called a move toward the metaverse. The company also announced further moves towards online marketing and e-commerce initiatives.

Meanwhile, Viber is a platform for secure voice and video calling as well as messaging. While the market for these services is constantly growing, it is also becoming increasingly crowded, by other dedicated platforms and apps as well as by increasingly powerful messaging services offered by social media platforms.

The Dream

“Snap’s partnership with Rakuten Viber is a win-win situation for us both,” Snap Inc. Camera Platform Partnerships Director, Elliot Solomon, said in a release announcing the partnership.

Viber gets the power of Snap to help it compete with other messaging platforms in exchange for exposure on a full-service messaging and calling platform as well as the established market of users on that platform. The company has always called itself “a camera company” but as we’ve seen, that’s a deceptively humble slogan.

The partnership with Viber spreads camera technology but may also open the door for those expanding services like e-commerce.

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“Viber is more than a messaging app. It not only connects people with each other, it is also a place where users can create entertaining, exciting, and rewarding content to share with their communities,” Rakuten Viber CEO, Djamel Agaoua, said in the release.

An added bonus is that both of these companies gain ground against the similarly positioned Instagram/Facebook Messenger partnership.

Some geographic markets have already seen the update to Viber, but it should be universally available by the end of August.

What You Get Out of It

So, what do users get out of the deal? The benefits are two-fold.

The first benefit to users comes in the form of the actual partnership offerings: 30 new Viber lenses including filters and masks, and Bitmoji integration through “Viber characters.” Between 50 and 70 new lenses are slated to roll out each month for a total of at least 300 by the end of the year.

Viber Snap Lenses

The second benefit is a little more conceptual: competition. We’ve already mentioned that the partners gain ground against Facebook and Instagram, but users get a second option as well. Even users who don’t plan on using Viber and/or Snap, benefit from increasing competition in what is no longer a monolithic market.

Good for Snap. Good for Viber

Viber. Snap. What’s not to like? The whimsy of one, the practicality of another, and again, maybe it kicks some sand at Facebook. We’re thrilled about it.

 

Jon Jaehnig
the authorJon Jaehnig
Jon Jaehnig is a freelance journalist with special interest in emerging technologies. Jon has a degree in Scientific and Technical Communication from Michigan Technological University and lives in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. If you have a story suggestion for Jon, you may contact him here.