Snapchat is implementing an augmented reality feature that will be able to recognise items and objects, in a move to become a visual search engine.
One of the most popular messaging services seems to be turning in a new direction, as Snapchat is putting its AR features front and centre, with an updated version of Scan taking centre stage.
Scan is able to recognise objects in the real world, like what types of clothes you’re wearing, what breed of dog you own, or what you’re eating for lunch, according to The Verge.
This further pushes into the visual search engine narrative that Snapchat has been pushing for with its AR filters and ability to scan QR codes through the app.
Snapchat filters, or Lenses, are also still as popular as when they launched, with the company claiming more than 170 million people use Scan at least once a month. Users can also create and share Lenses, which incentivises people to stay interested.
Visual search engines aren’t anything new, Google launched Lens in 2017, which allowed Google Pixel users to scan items through their camera, then recognise and name them from the search results.
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Since Snapchat relies so heavily on the camera, and that’s where the app opens up, it could do well in the visual search world. With the number of people already interacting with the AR features, having Scan be the first thing people see could boost its popularity further.
Scan has been available on the app for a few years, originally being able to identify items that were available to buy from Amazon.
This enhanced version will be adding detection for multiple objects and items, including plants, cars, dog breeds, clothes, and even information on food nutrition.
The Verge confirmed that most of the features are powered by other companies, for example, the wine scanning feature is powered by the app Vivino.
Snapchat should continue to add more to the Scan feature, both from outside partners and from inside the company, to make it more developed and to recognise as much as possible.