Snapchat presents a variety of new features

Voice control for the lenses, topics for the story format and a list feature for the SnapMap: Snap Inc. updates the app.

© Snap Inc.

Snapchat announced at this year’s Snap Partner Summit that there will be a number of updates to the app. Among other things, new AR features, an upgrade for the SnapMap and innovations for the SnapKit are implemented.

New AR features for Snapchat: SnapCam, Local Lense and voice control

First, Snap Inc. stated that there will be a variety of AR extensions for the app in the future. The reason for this is the growing popularity of such features among users. At the summit, the company said:

Over 170 million Snapchatters engage with AR daily – nearly 30 times every day – with top-performing community Lenses reaching billions of views.

The corona pandemic may have contributed to the fact that Snapchat users increasingly spent the time during the lockdown with the AR features. One option that users can look forward to is Local Lense. This enables users to apply AR filters to their immediate environment. This means that with the Local Lense, selected buildings or landscapes can be virtually decorated or colored. With an update of the scan options, Snap Inc. also offers users a new way of identifying a large number of objects. SnapCam will soon have the following features on Snapchat:

  • PlantSnap to recognize plants
  • Dog scanner for the determination of dog breeds
  • Nutrition scanner to identify the ingredients of various foods

Snap Inc. is also introducing voice control for AR features. With the new voice scan option, users can give simple voice commands to the app, which are then executed in the snap lenses.

Snapchat voice scan
© Snap Inc.

Good news for developers: Snapchat launches Snap Minis and Dynamic Lenses

Snapchat is also rolling out a new process for SnapML. This enables developers to implement their own machine learning models directly in the Lens Studio. The Snap Developer platform also gets a new feature: Dynamic Lenses. With this new option, Snapchat allows developers to implement information from their app in real time on the Snapchat platform. In addition, app developers can look forward to the introduction of so-called snap minis. These are micro apps within Snapchat. This way, developers can reach Snapchat’s user base with their creations and at the same time improve the app for them with new tools.

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New navigation bar for a better overview

Another new feature: Snapchat users can now navigate through the app with a revised action bar. Snapchat already tested the revised navigation bar in February. Now it is being rolled out. The reason for this could be that Snapchat wants to make navigation through the app clearer. This would make it easier for new users to familiarize themselves with the functionality of the app and then use it regularly.

Snapchat action bar
© Snap Inc.

In addition, there will be a new topic feature for the story format at Snapchat in the future. This works in a similar way to hashtags or stickers, but is primarily intended to enable users to exchange information on specific topics. Snapchat explains:

Use a Topic sticker or submit your Snap to a Community Topic, like ‘Life Hacks’ or ‘Oddly Satisfying’ and browse Topic Pages to explore Snaps based on what you care about most.

Snapchat topics
© Snap Inc.

Snapchat: New listings on SnapMaps and expansion of the “Here For You” page

Snapchat is also rolling out a new Happening Now feature in the Discover tab. With this, users in the USA can receive short messages and keep up to date with current global events. Snap Inc. explained the new feature as follows:

We’ve partnered with some of the most trusted news organizations, like The Washington Post, Bloomberg, Reuters, NBC News, ESPN, NowThis, E! News, Daily Mail, BuzzFeed News and more, to turn updates on the biggest stories across politics, entertainment, sports and more into single Snaps – creating a new format designed for the fast and frequent way Snapchatters view breaking news on mobile.

Snapchat implements a far more interesting feature for brands in the SnapMap. Because here shops and popular places including information (opening times, addresses etc.) can be localized and displayed in a list. In future, gastronomic delivery services can also receive orders directly via the app. The new feature will be rolled out this week in the U.S. for Android and iOS. It is not yet known when users can access it in Germany.

Snap map places
© Snap Inc.

The last update that Snapchat announced at the Summit concerns the Here For You Page in the app. The site is intended to help users take care of their mental health. Especially in times of corona-related lockdown, the “Here For You” page seemed to be very popular. To improve this, Snapchat is now cooperating with the online healthcare company Headspace to produce new content for the site. A new meditation tool was also rolled out. In addition, Snapchat continues to work on a secure process to refer users with mental illness to experts.

Snapchat wellbeing
© Snap Inc.

With the introduction of this multitude of new features, Snapchat wants to continue to improve the app for users. Initially, only users from the United States can access most of the new options. When these will be rolled out in this country is still unclear.

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