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Snap doubles down on AR in its 2022 Partner Summit

By Aaron Yip - on 29 Apr 2022, 1:00am

Snap doubles down on AR in its 2022 Partner Summit

Screenshot: Snap Partner Summit website

When Snapchat Inc. re-branded to Snap Inc. back in 2016, it signaled a shift in the company away from just the Snapchat app and towards more camera-oriented products, which included Spectacles. About six years after the re-brand, the company hasn't strayed from its pivot towards camera technology, and in particular, has honed in on augmented reality (AR).

And with its 2022 Snap Partner Summit, Snap has unloaded some of its new initiatives:

Developer and brand-facing Features and Improvements

One major focus of the summit was, of course, AR, specifically for brands and developers. This includes a new version of Snap's Lens Studio, which also comes with an expanded API Library, and future support for ray tracing. Snapchat also announced Lens Cloud, a free collection of backend services for developers to make Lenses more dynamic and creative, and includes Multi-Band Services, Location-Based Services and Storage Services.

Along with this, Snap is also improving the AR shopping and merchant experience on Snapchat. This includes Snap's new 3D Asset Manager, which expedites the request and approval process for 3D models for use by brands, and enables asset sharing between retailers and brands. Snap has also unveiled some new AR Image Processing technology that allows for brands to turn existing product photography into AR assets.

Snap's AR Image Processing technology in action. (Image Source: Snap)

Snap is also releasing new Snap AR Shopping templates in its Lens Web Builder for brands to easily import AR assets to quickly create Catalog-Powered Shopping Lenses, which essentially allow users to preview and try on products using AR. The new templates, however, will only be available as a beta for selected partners for now.

For developers, Snap has also announced its Minis Private Components System. Snap Minis, which are lightweight utilities / pseudo-apps, were first unveiled on Snapchat in 2020, and are built with HTML5, to ensure ease of use for all Snapchat users. The new Private Components System allows partners to build their own Minis, with Snap taking care of the social elements. Early partners for the system include HBO Max, Givingli, a greeting card company, and mobile data company Ding.

How Snap's Minis Private Components System works. (Image source: Snap)

User-facing Features, Snapchat Content Creation and Other Announcements

For Snapchatters, Snap is unveiling a new AR feature called Dress Up within the app's Lens Explorer, and allows users to discover and try on new products – essentially consolidating AR try-on experiences from different brands into one place.

Snap is also adding what it calls 'Director Mode' to Snapchat, which is a set of video editing and creation tools for content creators. Interestingly, this includes a new Dual Camera feature, which allows a user to use the front and rear-facing camera on a device at the same time. Other features include Quick Edit that allows you to stitch together multiple Snaps.

Finally, Snap is partnering with ticketing and entertainment company Live Nation to help enhance concerts and performances with AR. It aims to assist attendees and concertgoers find merchandise, and friends and explore the concert grounds. Some of the festivals and concerts being enhanced through Snap's AR include the Chicago music festival Lollapalooza, as well as The Governors Ball Music Festival in New York.

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