Snap kicked off its Partner Summit in Los Angeles by announcing a host of new features for its strongest selling point: its augmented reality Lenses.
To start with, its Lens Studio feature that lets users create their own AR filters has received an upgrade via a new ‘Landmarkers’ template that enables Snapchat users to bring several famous landmarks to life with the help of built-in augmented reality tools such as the Lens Studio.
Snap’s Lens Studio update includes lots of new interesting templates for AR creators. The Landmarkers is undoubtedly the most significant one. Snapchat is also planning to introduce the ‘Scan’ option and ‘AR Bar’ that will give users quick access to GIFs from GIPHY by simply pointing at objects.
The Landmarkers template allows creators to bring famous landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower, the Flatiron Building, the Buckingham Palace or the TCL Chinese Theater in Los Angeles to life by using the augmented reality tools in the Lens Studio.
Snapchat users in close proximity to any of these landmarks can begin trying out the new Landmarkers Lenses today. There are five landmarks covered so far and Snap is planning to add more landmarks in the near future.
With the Landmarkers, Snapchat will be extending its AR tools to a much larger canvas of creativity. The Landmarkers are a set of Lenses that will breathe new life into some of the world’s most iconic buildings on Snapchat. The lenses have been designed by Snapchat users and they weave their magic by transforming these iconic buildings into animated characters. The lenses can, for instance, make the Eiffel Tower to puke rainbows. Another lens can make the Capitol Building to shoot confetti yet a third one will transform the Flatiron Building into one giant slice of pizza as seen below. There is a lens that transforms the famous Chinese Theater in LA into a stack of hot dogs and ice cream cones.
True to the format of other Snap lenses, the latest lenses are also whimsical. The fun factor may be reason enough to open the app and start creating your snaps. The lens creators will be able to submit their unique takes on the landmarks by using the Lens Studio 2.0. This is an upgrade of Snap’s development platform that will also be launching soon and is aimed at roping in more developers and creators to add more content to the platform. Snap employees will hand-pick the Lenses for the Landmarkers so as to mitigate abuse. The Lens Studio will include other tools such as developing lens for hand-tracking, body-tracking and much more which can be used by creators to make Lenses that other Snapchatters from around the world will be able to unlock and interact with.
In spite of rolling out lots of new fanciful templates and features, Snap is yet to work out a revenue model for its lens creators beyond the occasional pairing up of creators with advertisers to create branded lenses.
Snap also announced that it will now allow creators to create public profiles within Snapchat. Users will be able to browse profiles to see what other lenses particular profiles have created. Snapchat creators have made more than 400,000 lenses to date which have been used 15 billion times.
You can discover the Landmarkers by tapping on the camera screen, like in other lenses. Snap will also help users discover the landmarks by notifying them whenever they are close to a Landmarker, have their camera open and have accessed the lens carousel. The company plans to add additional monument-based lenses in the near future.
On top of the Landmarkers, Snap’s camera platform will also incorporate two new partner integrations in its Scan product. Users will simply press the camera screen and they will discover products using Amazon along with song titles that use Shazam. Snap has also added GIPHY to assist users in finding contextual GIFs along with Photomath that will help users solve mathematical problems and cheat on tests.