U.S. Markets close in 12 mins.

Snapchat Rolls Out Augmented-Reality ‘World Lenses’ for Rear Camera

Jake Swearingen

The world, as we know it, is very boring. Luckily, there’s now a way to spruce it up, with Snapchat’s World Lenses.

Snapchat’s live filters have been impressive for adding real-time 3-D effects to faces and selfies, but World Lenses are for your rear-facing camera. Take a picture of any scene, and you can tap to add floating, real-time elements to your picture, like a floating rainbow or rain cloud, or just a big “Hello!”

Playing around with the feature on Snapchat in Android, it’s definitely impressive. There’s a nice feeling of depth to the live filters, along with a small shadow effect, that makes the effects feel more embedded in the real world — more a part of the actual picture — than the flat stickers previously available in Snapchat.

Perhaps notable? Snapchat announced the feature this morning, just a few hours before Facebook’s F8 conference kicks off. Last year, Facebook-owned Instagram ripped off the core concept of Snapchat — short, disappearing videos — and re-created it as Stories in Instagram. Instagram Stories now has 200 million active daily users, while Snapchat has just 160 million.

Showing off a feature that Facebook is unlikely to have replicated, on one of Facebook’s biggest media days, must feel pretty nice to those at Snap HQ.

Related Articles