Snap announced a new desktop app dubbed Lens Studio, which lets any Snapchat user create their own augmented reality (AR) Lenses for Snapchat.
Once a Lens is created and approved by Snapchat, Lens Studio creates a unique Snapcode that’s scanned to activate the new lens; users then have 24 hours to use it before it disappears and requires a rescan to use again.
Previously, only the company’s internal creative agency, Team Snapchat, could create Lenses. The release marks a strategic pivot for Snap that could bring more developers and users to the platform.
The rollout of Lens Studio is part of Snap’s plan to make Snapchat the go-to app for AR experiences over competitors like Facebook. Last week, Facebook announced it was opening its AR tool, AR Studio, to all third-party developers. Facebook also launched World Effects, its version of Snapchat’s World Lenses, which will be embedded in AR Studio. Snap’s move to open up Snapchat to developers will help it draw in new content that could ultimately drive user engagement on the platform.
Here’s how Lens Studio will help Snapchat grow AR content on its platform and shore up against Facebook:
- Lens Studio makes it easier for anyone to create AR content on Snapchat, whichwill grow AR and Lenses features on Snap. Lens Studio lowers the barrier to entry for any developer or Snapchat user looking to leverage the camera to make fun, engaging, and useful AR experiences. Lens Studio comes with templates and guides to aid developers and users of all experience levels in creating more advanced 3D AR objects and animators.
- It will likely drive user creation, engagement, and communication in Snapchat.Snapchat’s AR and Lenses features are popular among its users — over 70 million Snapchat users play with Lenses every day, with the average user spending over three minutes doing so. With AR and Lens features becoming easier to create, and thus more prevalent, consumers may find amplified value in the platform.
- Lens Studio opens the door to future AR-related services on Snapchat. This is especially important as Snap inches closer to evolving Snapchat Spectacles to an AR-enabled device. And if developers and Snapchat users are able to create AR lenses for Spectacles, it could provide another compelling use case for the glasses.
Lens Studio plays into Snap’s larger strategy to be a mainstay for fun and interactive AR content. AR is a key way for Snapchat to drive engagement on the platform, Snapchat CEO Even Spiegel said during the company's Q3 earnings call. And Snapchat’s senior leadership believes “AR is the next internet.” To stay ahead of the competition, the company is striving to continue to establish a solid AR footprint in 2018. Opening up Snapchat to developers so they can create more AR content is just the latest move by the company to become a leader in AR.
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