Below are 5 interesting points on Snapchat, including its overarching vision.
a) The company is betting on a long-term trend: the rise and eventual global dominance of visual culture. Snap calls itself a camera company. Take this claim seriously, not literally. When we say Snap wants to enable the cultural supremacy of the camera, it’s at least to make it as important to our daily lives as the keyboard.
b) It is interesting to note the evolution of textual and visual media over years.
Even before the invention of the printing press, text has been the central way that humans communicate over long distances and across time. Computers only entrenched the primacy of text with the rise of desktop publishing in the 1980s
Then the internet turned us into distributors of digital words. Suddenly we were all bloggers, emailers, tweeters and authors of Mediums and status updates. We ditched phone calls for written messages.
Then with the smartphone a decade back, it became possible for humans to instantly document their visual surroundings and to transmit what we saw.
But Snapchat uncovered something deeper about the camera. Not only could we use pictures to document the world, but we could also use them to communicate.
The rising dependence on cameras is changing our language. Other than in face-to-face communication, we used to talk primarily in words. Now, more and more, from GIFs to emoji, selfies to image-macro memes and live video, we talk in pictures.
Snapchat returns us to a time before the printing press, when information was disseminated orally instead of through writing.
Snapchat is attempting is to apply technology to visual products to create a fading-away effect — just as spoken words fade away in the air after utterance.
Evan Spiegel, the chief executive of Snap, recently said to a reporter. “People wonder why their daughter is taking 10,000 photos a day,” he said. “What they don’t realise is that she isn’t preserving images. She’s talking.”
c) One of the products that Snap has worked on to bolster it’s Camera Company vision is a drone. A drone could help Snap’s users take overhead videos and photographs, and then feed that visual data to the company.
d) Snapchat launched Search for Stories submitted to its public Our Stories. Snapchat wants to be where some people spend tons of engagement time, rather than where everyone spends a little time.
How this works –
Snapchat is using algorithms to scan the caption text, time and visual elements found in Snaps submitted to Our Story and group them by theme. For example, it could pull out Snaps with the words “dog” or “puppy” in captions, or use machine vision to detect the shape of a real dog in the photos or videos, and aggregate them into an Our Story that comes up when people search for “Puppies.” Snap notes you could use this to watch a nearby basketball game, see what’s happening at a local bar, check out a specific Fashion Week runway show or explore a vacation spot. More than 1 million themes will have Search results available.
e) Without consciously trying, Snapchat could be the biggest AR company in the world today.
The app launched a new feature called world lenses that uses a phone’s rear-facing camera to decorate any scene with the same augmented reality-like technology. Snap has long been building its own version of augmented and virtual reality that it calls 3-D technology to animate photos and videos. And brands including Jeep and L’Oréal have built sponsored lenses for ad campaigns.
With the update, users point the camera at an object and add graphics like flowers and rainbows to their snaps. Similar to existing lenses, world lenses will regularly change to feature new graphics.
The rollout of lenses is reflective of Snap’s broader goal to be a “camera company,” including the launch of its video-recording Spectacles last fall and its ongoing product war to keep up with Facebook-owned Instagram, which claimed last week that its Snapchat clone Stories feature now reaches more people than Snapchat with 200 million daily users.