Social media giant Snapchat is reportedly working on a new version of its popular Lenses feature. The updated Lenses feature will make use of the latest innovations in augmented reality (AR) to interact with objects in the external world.
Officials at Snapchat told reporters this updated version of Lenses is currently in the experimental phase. Developers working on the updated Lenses technology say future users will be able to put detailed AR animations into their Snapchat pictures and videos.
The new AR-enabled Lenses will have the ability to sense objects in the real world and intuitively interact with the external world. As of today, we still don't know whether or not the new Lenses feature will apply different settings on its own or if users will be able to manually choose their own backgrounds and effects.
Unfortunately, this new Lenses technology won't be released soon. Snapchat said that the new Lenses are now only being tested internally. Executives at Snapchat then told reporters the Lenses are not on the "near-term product roadmap."
We do know that the new Lenses feature will be released for both the iOS and Android versions of Snapchat's app. Also, we know that this new AR-enabled feature will be a huge hit with companies interested in advertising on Snapchat's platform.
Snapchat has become increasingly involved in the advertising space within the past few years. The updated Lenses feature could be a way for Snapchat to attract even more partners as the social media company's daily active user count grows.
Recently, Snapchat worked with the film studio Screen Gems to promote the film Underworld: Blood Wars. Advertisers used the gyroscope feature in Snaptchat's current Lenses option to give viewers a unique "360-degree" experience of the film.
Execs at Snapchat may have announced the new iteration of Lenses to drum up more excitement over the company's upcoming initial public offering (IPO). Snapchat is expected to go public on the NYSE sometime this year. It goes without saying that this IPO is one of the most highly anticipated amongst Wall Street analysts and investors in 2017.
It wasn't until Snapchat purchased the Ukrainian computer vision startup Looksery that work on Lenses began in earnest. Ukrainian engineers and technicians have mainly been involved in perfecting the Lenses feature ever since joining Snapchat team. Looksery is now headquartered in Los Angeles.
With the increased processing power available in today's cell phones, many tech analysts believe the Lenses feature will only grow more powerful as the years go on. If these tech analysts are right, then the next iteration of Lenses may just be one in a long series of updates yet to come.
Stanford University students Evan Spiegel, Bobby Murphy, and Reggie Brown founded Snapchat in 2011. Today, Snapchat is available in over 20 languages on both iOS and Android products. There are over 160 million daily active users on Snapchat right now. Snapchat is headquartered in Venice, California.