One of Snapchat's most popular features is undoubtedly its line of "Lenses" that vary over time but according to a new report, it appears the company is getting ready to take its lenses a step further by including some new AR content that will be overlayed onto objects in a shot. Currently, Snapchat does offer "World Lenses," though these only add additional effects and objects into a scene, without overlaying any. With the improved lenses, the app should be able to overlay objects onto current ones, in a similar way to how it overlays a user's face with other animated faces or objects.
The improvement of the lenses to support AR objects would certainly spark some user interest, something that is needed at the moment considering the company is expected to go public within a number of weeks. Snapchat's Lenses were initially only available through the front-facing camera. As the popularity increased, though, Snapchat has slowly increased the usability of the feature, first by making it available through the rear camera, then allowing more than one person in a shot at a time and, more recently, the introduction of "World Lenses." Snap Inc. knows that Snapchat's popularity growth is slowing, though, which is why the company is gradually moving away from a Snapchat-only business model and expanding into other markets, specifically the hardware one in the form of their unique Spectacles.
Nonetheless, with most of the company's revenue coming from Snapchat it makes sense to take advantage of the popularity of their lenses feature, considering sponsored lenses have become a popular offering when it comes to potential advertisers. The fact that the company could now be introducing the more advanced lenses will give advertisers the opportunity to pay for sponsored objects to be overlayed through AR into people's snaps. More advanced lenses do not mean the company can afford to ignore one major fact, though. Instagram's Stories feature is fast growing and is at risk of eating up Snapchat's user base over time if the company doesn't act quickly enough, because they may need something bigger than more advanced lenses in order to convince users to stay. Either way, with the company set to go public soon it will be interesting to see how Snap Inc. spends the money it raises, though Snapchat is sure to be the center of the company's plan.