Snap announced a flurry of new products and features at the Snap Partners Summit 2020, held on June 11. Communicate was given a sneak peek.
Augmenting augmented reality
Building on its firmly-held belief that reinventing the camera represents the greatest opportunity to improve the way people live and communicate, Snap takes justified pride in having popularized augmented reality (AR) technology both for people’s casual usage, and for brands as an increasingly important part of their marketing strategies. On average, more than 170 million Snapchatters engage with AR daily for nearly 30 times per day, via Lenses developed in Lens Studio – its free desktop application designed for developers and artists to build and distribute AR Lenses on Snapchat. Here are some of the new AR experiences in store:
- SnapML is a new Lens Studio advanced feature that lets developers bring their own machine learning models to power Lenses. Anyone will now be able create their own Lenses with neural networks that they’ve trained, pushing the creative limits of what developers can do.
- Lens Studio is also releasing a foot tracking template powered by an ML model from Wannaby, that lets developers easily create Lenses that interact with feet. This addition comes on top of Face Landmarks and Face Expressions for improved facial tracking, new Hand Gesture templates, and an updated user interface to simplify navigation within the tool.
- Local Lenses, that builds on Landmarks, is another new feature that enables a persistent, shared AR world built right on top of neighborhoods, allowing Snapchatters and their friends to step into this virtual space together and decorate nearby buildings.
- New Scan partners include PlantSnap, that can identify 90% of all known plants and trees; Dog Scanner, that recognizes almost 400 breeds of dogs; Nutrition Scanner, that provides a rating on the quality of ingredients in many packaged foods; Voice Scan, that offers Snapchatters Lens results based on voice commands. Snap is also launching another new Scan functionality that automatically recognizes an image associated with a given Marker Lens. For example, cosmetics brand Too Faced connected their try-on Lens featuring the Born This Way eye shadow palette to their product packaging, allowing people who scan their eyeshadow to be directly connected to step-by-step video tutorials.
With Snapchatters spending 35% more time year-on-year consuming content on its Discover made-for-mobile, closed and curated video feature, and 60 Shows reaching monthly audiences of 10+ million viewers, it’s no wonder that the platform is expanding its content offering and its roster of partners – whose revenues from Snap have, incidentally, increased by 60%.
- Multi-year deals with Disney, ESPN, NBCUniversal, and Rotana, among others, have been renewed and include new Shows and Snap Originals – mobile shows created exclusively for Snapchat’s audience – on top of the existing original franchises.
- Happening Now is a new dedicated product developed in partnership with some of the most trusted news organizations, such as The Washington Post, Bloomberg, and Reuters. It will allow the 125 million people who watched news stories on Snapchat this year to get updates on the biggest stories across politics, entertainment, sports, and more.
- As expected, a new slate of Snap Originals is set to premiere over the next year, including unscripted series, character-driven docuseries, and scripted dramas and comedies.
Easy and fun
Snap introduces a variety of new developer products and partnerships across the Snap Kit, Snap Games, and Bitmoji ecosystems.
- Snap Minis are a range of bite-size utilities that will provide developers with new ways to bring experiences inside Snapchat while leveraging the social power of the platform: Headspace Mini will offer quick meditation sessions; Let’s Do It will help groups of friends make plans and decisions; Saturn Mini will allow students to share and compare their class schedules, etc. Easy to create and to share as social experiences, Snap Minis are built on the same core principles and technologies as Snap Games and will be positioned directly into the Chat feature for friend-on-friend discovery and seamless integration within conversations.
- More than 800 apps have already integrated with Snap Kit, and nearly 150 million Snapchatters are engaging with these integrations every month. The new Camera Kit will invite developers to leverage Snap’s eight-year investment in the Snapchat camera, bringing its AR capabilities to enrich the experiences on their own apps. Through Camera Kit, Lenses built using Lens Studio can now live on both other apps and on Snapchat.
- An expansion of Creative Kit, Dynamic Lenses enable developers to bring real-time information from their app into Snapchat Lenses, making it easy for any company to build custom AR experiences for their communities.
- Since its launch in April 2019, more than 100 million Snapchatters have played Snap Games. Building on this momentum, Snap has announced a new slate of original and third-party games from new and existing partners, as well as Bitmoji for Games, that will allow gamers to play as their 3D Bitmoji avatar in various titles and genres on any platform, including mobile, PC and console.