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For Brands, Snapchat World Lenses May Be More Than Just Cute
Posted November 13, 2016
For Brands, Snapchat World Lenses May Be More Than Just Cute
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By Paresh Dave. Updated November 13, 2016 5:44AM

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Snapchat users now have more reasons to make goofy faces while taking selfies. The chat and entertainment app's latest updates includes new effects that overlay virtual objects in photos and videos. Golden butterflies flutter around a room, or clouds with faces float overhead. An airhorn hovers in the image, and when pressed on the screen, unleashes a blaring sound and showers confetti.

They're what Snapchat developer Snap Inc. calls World Lenses, an extension of the face-altering Lenses the Venice company unveiled last year. The new batch of options shows that the company remains interested in blurring the boundaries between the physical and digital worlds.

Mixed-reality videos could open the door to new forms of advertising, which Snap relies on for most of its revenue. For example, Comedy Central sponsored a facial animation Tuesday that makes people resemble either an elephant or a donkey depending on their voting preference in the presidential election.

A steady pace of small new features such as the World Lenses has shown the company wants to keep expanding in the area, but some technology experts say they're still waiting for a blockbuster change that would bring mixed reality experiences to a new level.

"Where we think the potential of augmented lenses gets most interesting is in the expansion beyond just selfies and seeing the world through interactive lenses," SunTrust Robinson Humphrey's Robert Peck wrote in a report in June. "Imagine snapping a picture with your phone of a box of cereal that has a Snapcode on the box and it tells you if you've won a prize or has the 'Trix rabbit' jump out of the box."

Snap declined to comment on the technology developed to power the World Lenses.

Also Tuesday, Snapchat added a back button to some videos for the first time. Unlike most online video players, standard Snapchat videos don't allow users to rewind or fast forward. Though that hasn't changed, it users will now more easily be able to move back and forth between short clips.

© 2017 Los Angeles Times syndicated under contract with NewsEdge/Acquire Media. All rights reserved.

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