Plans for launching of a fully fledged digital platform that will rival not only Facebook but also Google and Apple were revealed by Snap, the company behind Snapchat.
The company plans to soon launch an app store and expand its games platform. It will also offer external developers the facility so that the developers would be able to upload machine-learning models to build augmented reality experiences.
For the first time, the company will also be allowing other apps to integrate its camera software and of incorporating businesses into its maps alongside users’ friends.
According to analysts, this move is reflective of the confidence that Snap has on Snapchat and the ability of the social media platform to remain the largest non-Facebook social network in the western markets.
Even though the platform saw a dip in its user growth in 2018, the number of daily users of the platform, which stands at 229 million, is far higher than the 166 million of twitter but much lower than the number of active daily users of Facebook-owned Instagram and Facebook itself.
“In terms of the long-term future, we believe very strongly in the idea that computing overlaid on to the world, and augmented reality (AR) and the camera in particular, will be the foundation for the next major shift in technology,” said Bobby Murphy, the company’s co-founder and chief technology officer, in an interview to the media.
“So you’ll notice that in a lot of our announcements: AR and the camera is actually threading its way into many of the other things we’re doing. We’re at the early stages of seeing AR and the vision of the camera being the centre of computing coming together,” Murphy added.
Analysts consider these measures announced by Snap at its annual developer summit that was held virtually last week, to be the early stages of the revolution that the company has in plan. For example, the company disclosed a series of tools, called Scan, that will allow Snapchat users to identify plants, trees and dogs by simply pointing their phone cameras at them. A similar function for packaged foods will be available to users after a planned integration with Yuka, a dieting app.
Developers being allowed to build their own AI filters for cameras is another of the new products of the company. It is assumed that in the initial stages of development of this product, it would probably be used to generate ever more inventive lenses for the company’s messaging product. One such example of this filter is one that turns a video into the style of Van Gogh’s Starry Night.
Eventually creativity will expand to include utility is the ultimate goal. Murphy says.
Scan is “probably our best representative for pushing into non-creative AR, more utility-based AR”, he said. “With AR specifically, what’s really fascinating is that it quite literally transforms the way you see the world through your camera. It has tremendous potential to change the way we see the world. To educate, inform, help people connect with one another.”
(Adapted from TheGuardian.com)