Snapchat Starts Dipping Into AR With World Lenses

By @TheMarkDalton

Snapchat and Instagram may be locked in a battle to be the best story telling app but what attracts the users will be whoever brings the best features to make the platform fun and exciting to use as well as useful to business and brands.

We will be talking about some Instagram story updates in a different article later today but now we want to focus on Snapchat and a new feature they have launched last week called “World Lenses.”

What are world lenses?

We are all familiar with what Snapchat calls filters by now. Filters allow you to do pretty neat stuff based around faces where you can face swap with others or indeed objects. You can also apply different effects to your face or your friends face.

Filters are the really really silly side of Snapchat which is what makes the platform so great. They are just pure fun and now Snapchat is bringing what it calls a range of world lenses which are basically filters that can be applied to the environment around you.

There are several lens options at the moment such as a snow effect overlay or clouds vomiting rainbows and also a torch which works pretty well and is probably my favourite one at the moment.

The lenses basically apply a range of animations and effects to the world around you and are not designed for your face. We expect Snapchat to introduce more over time and swap them around as they do with the current filters for your face.

How do they work?

Open up Snapchat and while on the camera screen simply tap and hold down until the familiar row of filters appears which you have seen when the front facing camera is active.

The world lenses should be at the top of the row, as you scroll through you will see a real time preview of what they look like. To get out of the lens options and back to the normal camera simply tap the x button below the lenses.

What is the point of these?

What is the point of many moves Snapchat makes? Fun! Snapchat at the moment is what epitomises social media which is why brands and marketers can sometimes struggle with it.

While anyone can see, use and enjoy the world lenses on the Snapchat app through their phone – the new lenses were clearly designed with Spectacles in mind which have just gone on sale in a kiosk in San Francisco.

The new spectacles will allow users to capture and augment the world around them easily and with a unique perspective.

What are these ‘spectacles’ and where can I get them?

Spectacles are the new product from Snap which will allow users to capture video and photos from the sunglass style spectacles when they are wearing them.

They have just gone on sale for $130 and they can only be bought from a Spectacles vending machine. At the moment there is only one spectacles vending machine which is in Venice Beach, CA.

However we are expecting more vending machines to pop up around the world soon and you can track the locations with this handy map.