Snap Inc are heading further into the augmented reality loop..
The latest announcement is a new Snapchat feature called World Lenses. Snap’s intentions to enhance the visual experience of the world’s trendiest messaging app for millennials have been pretty clear, with the existing Snapchat filters that can transform your face into cute and furry creatures, and the Snapchat Spectacles which allow you to quickly shoot videos from a first person view and upload them to the app.
The new World Lenses bring an upgraded augmented reality experience with 3D filters, allowing you to drop 3D objects into whatever real-life scene you’re looking at or video you’re shooting. The 3D objects react to the stuff around them in the physical world and you can interact with them and move them around with hand gestures. You can even walk around the objects and make it look like you’re in a scene that you really ain’t.. That’s the nature of augmented reality.
The Snapchat World Lenses update is now live and it’s expected Snap Inc will be frequently releasing new experiences. The move is the latest round in the social media mammoth’s contention for attention from the masses. Apart from Pokemon Go, Snapchat is the place to be if you want to add a fun twist to your daily life by way of smartphone AR.
Instagram and Facebook have recently added features similar to Snapchat Stories, and yesterday, Mark (golden balls) Zuckerberg announced Facebook’s Camera Effects, a platform that allows developers to build AR experiences into the company’s in-app cameras.
It would be fair to say there’s a good chance of Snapchat and Facebook releasing some wearable augmented reality devices – contact lenses or smart glasses – sometime in the not so distant future. For now though, the smartphone screen is where AR is at, because wearable AR technology isn’t ready for the mainstream yet. I haven’t tried a pair of AR smartglasses that I didn’t want to take off after about 5 minutes – the latest being Microsoft Hololens.