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Snap says 170 million use its AR tools daily

That number represents about three quarters of the user base of Snapchat.

Snap announced new initiatives to expand its AR work at a virtual developer conference on Thursday.
Snap announced new initiatives to expand its AR work at a virtual developer conference on Thursday. (Snap)

Snap Inc. said more than 170 million people use its augmented-reality tools daily, a sign that the technology is going mainstream.

That number represents about three quarters of the user base of Snapchat, the company’s app for sending visual messages and watching shows and videos, and exceeds Twitter Inc.’s average daily user count from earlier this year.

Developers have created roughly 1 million different types of augmented-reality lenses that can be used on Snapchat and elsewhere. The Shazam lens helps people find what song is playing. During a Zoom video call, attendees can use a Snapchat integration to appear as a talking potato. The top-performing lenses get billions of views, Snap said.

The company announced new initiatives to expand its AR work at a virtual developer conference on Thursday. The technology is gaining momentum during the Covid-19 lockdown, Snap Chief Executive Officer Evan Spiegel said, citing the example of retailers that may be more willing to try new digital ways of helping shoppers try on shoes or makeup.

“There’s a lot of demand right now from businesses to think about different ways to try things on,” he said in an interview. Even in a post-pandemic world, the tools could eventually help retailers save money and reduce plastic waste used with product samples. “People have been excited about the potential for this for a long time.”

The company also added an AR tool called Scan that will let people digitally interact with anything they see through their phone camera. Partners built tools to allow Snapchatters to identify dog breeds and plants, or know how to point their phone at something and find the word for it in a local language. Google offers similar visual search technology.

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