Snapchat’s camera has officially morphed into an augmented reality platform - and it has so much potential for both Snap and its users.
If you're thinking, "Wait, didn't Snapchat already do AR stuff?" You're right; it did. Snapchat's lenses can change your face into a puking rainbow, or they can overlay your Bitmoji avatar onto your surroundings. But, going forward, the app's camera will be able to do a lot more than that.
Snap is unveiling a new initiative called Scan, and it's expected to roll out to all users soon. It's an augmented reality platform that allows companies to create new augmented reality experiences that utilise Snapchat’s camera. Upon launch, Scan will feature a partnership with Photomath, helping users solve math problems just by pointing their camera at the problem.
It will also have a Giphy integration that works by detecting objects and surfacing GIFs on users' screens in order to help them find the perfect GIF to match the moment. Any interested developers can contact Snap to find out more about working with the platform.
This isn’t exactly new territory for Snapchat. The app’s camera could already use Shazam to identify songs or work with Amazon to help you purchase things you’ve found in the world. Scan represents an ambitious step forward in that kind of thinking. It’s also another avenue Snap is exploring to make its app generate revenue. It's throwing everything at the wall, at this point.
The goal is to spur user engagement and increase ad revenue. For instance, the announcement of Scan comes just off the heels of a new mobile gaming platform inside Snapchat. Still, there are hurdles to Scan becoming a huge success for Snap. Snapchat's growth had stalled and even began to drop off a cliff after Instagram Stories debuted, so now Snap says it's focused on engagement.
Apparently, 75 per cent of Snap’s 186 million daily users play with Lenses each day. Snap even revealed at an event this week that, “In the US, Snapchat now reaches nearly 75 percent of all 13- to 34-year-olds, and we reach 90 percent of 13 to 24-year-olds". But Snap still acknowledged it will need to come up with a way to not only attract users, but now, developers as well to Scan.
Time will only tell.