Snap continues to experiment with its augmented reality Lenses, and today, the company launched new ones that will respond to a user’s voice. Some lenses will ask users to say words like, “hi,” “love,” or “wow,” which will cause the lenses to animate. So far, I only have one of these lenses available, and mine tells me to say “okay.” When I do, a little cat paw pops up making the okay symbol.
It seems to work fine, although I feel like I had to shout to get the app to hear me. I’m also sitting in a silent office, so you’d think it’d easily register my command. In either case, this Lens offers an interesting interaction idea, even though it’s slightly difficult to use. Most lenses on Snapchat require users to make a specific face or tap the screen to animate the Lenses. I don’t totally see the use case for a voice-activated Lens. I try to hide when I’m taking a selfie, so I definitely don’t want to yell random phrases at my phone while capturing my face.
Meanwhile, Instagram just recently got into branded AR filters. Kylie Jenner launched her branded filter on the app yesterday, which probably hurt Snap a little bit considering that Jenner used to love Snapchat and regularly voiced her enthusiasm. Although Instagram’s lenses aren’t as unique or well-designed, Snapchat doesn’t have as large of an active user base. So while I appreciate the work the team is putting in, I wish I actually had friends on the app and thereby a reason to open it.