Snap Inc. unveils game-changing innovations for AR and AI

Editorial | | Reading Time: 13:33 minutes

Snap Inc.'s highly anticipated fifth annual Snap Partner Summit unveiled an array of new features and advancements that will drive innovation in AR & AI technology, retail as well as the creator ecosystem. Designed to enhance Snapchat’s relationship with friends, family and the world, whilst providing an elevated experience, the entire Snap community gathered in California, eager to get a glimpse of the platform's latest innovations and its vision for the future.

Snap took the opportunity to reveal a host of exciting new announcements coupled with demos and activations for attendees to experience, alongside keynote speeches from top executives including founder Evan Spiegel and external voices such as partners, Snap Stars and power users.

Highlights included core product updates such as brand new story formats that allow the community to stay better connected, as well as more monetisation options for creators that demonstrate Snap’s enhanced level of investment in the ecosystem. Shopping continued to be a key focus for the platform as it continues to dominate the retail sector both on and offline with the expansion of interactive AR features, whilst key partnership spotlights including Nike, Coca-Cola and the recently announced Microsoft Teams Snapchat Lenses, exemplified how Snap can make experiences and passions better than ever. Finally, the hot topic on everyone’s lips is undoubtedly the platform’s integration of AI alongside its hallmark AR functions, with brand-new AI Generated Lenses and other new capabilities.

“Consumers today are no longer looking for a platform that allows them to just communicate visually. Today’s audiences are seeking opportunities to enhance their relationship with friends, family, and the world. Snapchat was built as an antidote to other social media apps. We continue to leverage the power of advanced AI technology to give our users a platform to establish better connections to the world." said Hussein Freijeh, General Manager at Snap Inc. in MENA. "These new products and features are designed to enhance the user experience, unlock new creative opportunities for developers and creators, and drive business results for advertisers. We are certain that our highly engaged community across the MENA region will benefit immensely from the new updates, using the power of AR and AI to elevate their worlds and unlock possibilities in new and exciting ways”.

New features to fuel friendships

On Snapchat, there are a plethora of ways to stay connected with the people that matter most. Snapchatters can look forward to an abundance of new features, updates, and interactive experiences on the platform, such as new Stories formats like Friendship Flashbacks, After Dark and Communities, all allowing users to document special moments in more enhanced ways. While Snaps and Chats are designed to delete by default, some Snaps are too good not to save. In fact, flashbacks made from Snapchat Memories are viewed over one billion times each day and now, with Friendship Flashbacks, these throwbacks are able to be brought right into conversations with friends. After Dark is a new type of story specifically for evening memories, designed to act as a debrief to the night before, meanwhile Communities is a feature that lets students share their perspective with classmates.

The Snap Map will include new location sharing options whilst a highly lifelike and personalized 3D Snap Map will make it easier to discover landmarks and buzzing hotspots. Finally, the most advanced Bitmoji style yet will mean that avatars will not only look like Snapchatters but dress like them, with more shoppable clothes and accessories to choose from.

New programs and features for creators

Snapchat’s camera makes storytelling easier and enables anyone to express themselves and become a content creator. Now, creators with at least 50,000 followers, 25 million monthly Snap views, and who post at least 10 Stories per month, may be eligible to join the Stories revenue share program, which places ads within creators’ Stories. This program helps creators get consistent rewards for their investment in Snapchat, and provides the community with even more engaging content from the creators they love. The program is in addition to increasing the total rewards available to creators for making the top Spotlight Snaps.

New Story updates will enable more creators to share their creativity with a wider audience, all while keeping Snapchat the best place for their real friends. Starting today, Snapchatters aged 18 or older will be able to post their own Public Story with a simple tap from the same account. What’s more, creators can get access to content performance insights and Story Replies.

Snapchat will also be providing creators more audience growth opportunities through new surfaces such as Snap Map, making it easier to discover creators across Stories and Spotlight. By simply tagging locations in Spotlight Snaps or saving Stories they love, they can expand their reach and give the community the opportunity to discover new Creators.

Finally, the platform has and will continue to implement dozens of new tools for Creators to help them build a following. For instance, creators can now add a Linktree, the leading link-in-bio platform, to their new Public Profile, whilst a new tool that recommends Sounds to pair with Lenses will help make Snaps even more expressive.

More partners that make connections better

Snap also reaffirmed new partnerships with brands and individuals that will bring more opportunities for creative collaborations and the chance to reach broader audiences. One of these partnerships was with Microsoft Teams, and users can now apply Snap Lenses in their workspaces to allow for more creative and expressive meetings.

Transforming Retail with the ARES Shopping Suite

Snap is committed to improving the shopping experience and delivering unique AR experiences, both on and off Snapchat. The new AR Shopping Suite by ARES (AR Enterprise Services) will now allow the world-leading technology to be used in customers’ own apps and websites, bringing together AR and AI features such as Try-On and Fit Finder. The Shopping Suite has already shown success for businesses, improving brand loyalty, decreasing product return rates, and differentiating in a competitive environment.

Snap also announced AR Mirrors in retail spaces as a way to bridge the digital and physical worlds. Used already by some of the world’s leading brands such as Nike and the uber cool AR-enabled Coca-Cola vending machine now in its prototype, brands that choose to implement innovative experiences in-store such as virtual try-ons and content sharing, are 82% more likely to be recommended to others.

Making Snapchat the most personal camera

Undoubtedly a key highlight of this year’s SPS was the newly developed AI Generated Lenses, which were showcased on stage and are now available to Snapchatters globally, allowing them to transform themselves and the world around them into an animated sci-fi scene through the Cosmic Lens. Marking a new generation of Lenses that are easier to create and with exponential creative potential, AI Generated Lenses are real-time, realistic, and the most optimized AR experiences available today.

Snapchat will also begin to recommend Lenses that fit with the context of a photo or video a Snapchatter has captured, in addition to testing ways to make it faster to add AR to Memories and improving the Lens Carousel to recommend Lenses based on Snapchatters’ unique preferences.

Bringing MyAI to Snapchatters around the world

The pioneering MyAI chatbox, which has been piloted by a select number of Snapchat+ subscribers, will become slowly available to Snapchatters across the world without an S+ subscription and with new capabilities including integration with Snap Map, group chats, and more. The AI-powered chatbot has been receiving nearly 2 million chat messages per day from Snapchatters, eager to learn more about movies, sports, pets, and the world around them, making the platform the perfect place to bring the power of conversational and generative AI directly to the community. With the roll-out of MyAI will be a continued focus on safety including age-appropriate responses and restrictions for those who misuse the service.

The Snap Partner Summit showcased Snap's commitment to pushing boundaries and setting new standards in many areas. With these exciting new features and advancements, Snap is driving innovation and creativity to the forefront, providing a platform for businesses and consumers to explore new and exciting ways to connect, engage and create.