Snap opened its first partner conference on Thursday, April 4th, with over 400 partners from around the world gathered at its Los Angeles headquarters. The company announced an extensive lineup of new features, upgrades, and content, including a new AR feature, Landmarks, and a computer vision object recognition feature, Lens, which appears to have identical functionality to Google Lens. It is now featured on the Snap camera screen.
Snap Originals, a slate of twelve short-form webisodes from Hollywood partners like NBC, Indigo, and Bunim Murray, was introduced. The titles skew toward young adult subject matter (think CW) and social media naturally plays a huge role in the stories being told. The medium within the medium.
This is Snap’s debut developer conference, which includes seminars and demos as well as the mainstage speech, which we watched live streamed. Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Google and Microsoft all have their own developer conferences. Magic Leap now has one as well. All these companies share one big thing in common: like TV networks, they are dependent on third-party content.
Spiegel declared at the top of the presentation the “Snap is a camera company… today, cameras are software… a lens is a window into your reality…” The company which already dominates mobile AR with filters (some 400,000 of them), doubled down on AR, launching a new feature, Landmarks, which “turns the world into a virtual museum.” The first five landmarks, the Eiffel Tower, New York’s iconic Flatiron building, LA’s Chinese Theater, and the US Capitol are the first real world objects built into 3D models from a point cloud constructed by Snap users as they interact with the real world in those locations. Using SLAM, the 3D model, the digital twin of the real world location, can be manipulated, even removed, in the camera.
Snap is pulling together a best-in-class mobile communications, social gaming, news and entertainment platform optimized for the 13–24 year old market of which the company says it reaches an astounding 90%. Snap also reaches 75% of an expanded 13–40 mobile first demographic which it dominates over television, the Internet, and all other media. Spiegel shared extraordinary stats at the beginning of his presentation to remind us just how huge Snap is, and how far ahead it is with consumer facing mobile AR. Part of their plan is to enhance its monetization (which they will share with partners). To accomplish this, Snap is adding Ad Kit, which will allow developers to access the Snap ad network. Developers need to apply for this.
Also sure to be popular are new Snap Games. The company is seeking a piece of the 77 billion dollar mobile games market by leveraging is unique position as a social sharing company. Group chat is growing in popularity, and these new multi-player games can be launched from the chat. This approach, taking something people are already doing and making it much better, guarantees Snap Games a big launch.
Snap is expanding its existing services and adding new ones, many featuring AR, to cement its position as the leader in mobile AR for consumers.