Snapchat launched its Portal Lens back in October 2017 as an exclusive feature for Netflix’s Stranger Things. The feature allows users to enter other worlds or portals and in that AR world, users can interact with elements… all through their phone.
Snapchat has been massively pushing its AR developments. It has been working with more brands on what it calls Sponsored Snappable ads, which are augmented reality games created by brands with the same technology used in games like Pokémon Go. Snapchat revealed Dunkin’ Donuts, the gamemaker King and Anheuser-Busch InBev were among the first brands to create the augmented reality games as ads.
Now, a Saudi-based brand has become the first one to make use of Snapchat’s Portal Lens. Jabal Omar Development Company (JODC), one of the largest real estate companies in the region, is making use of the functionality to allow Snapchat users to visit the Mecca of the 1980s and then step through a door into the Mecca of today.
Using the Lens, Snapchatters can walk around the Mecca old souk with the traditional building architecture, street food vendors and Ramadan lights decoration. They can then enter a second door into modern-day Mecca, where they will stand on a balcony inside the Al-Haram Mosque overseeing the Holy Kaaba.
The Adhan can be heard in the background, and pilgrims can be seen praying while facing the Kaaba.
Already Snapchat has high usage in Saudi Arabia with 9 million daily active users. The experience is also available to MENA users outside Saudi Arabia through the below Snapcode.