Updated: November 17, 2021 3:10:29 pm
Snapchat has hit 100 million monthly users in India, the company announced at its Snap Summit for India today. Further, Snap is now partnering with Flipkart to power new AR-driven shopping experiences on the platform. It will also be bringing its AR-driven virtual try-ons for Indian cosmetic brands Sugar Cosmetics and MyGlamm. The two will join Snap’s AR shopping beta program and will offer virtual experiences to consumers.
Terming India as one of the biggest examples of the success of Snapchat’s overall ecosystem, Snap co-founder and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Bobby Murphy told indianexpress.com that the company has seen tremendous adoption of its Augmented Reality (AR) capabilities in the country.
“We’ve seen really tremendous engagement and enthusiasm across our entire community in India around augmented reality. That engagement is happening within Snapchat and in other apps that we’re working with,” Snap’s co-founder pointed out.
For Snap, the new AR-driven partnerships are the results of growing investments in the country and the company sees AR growing bigger than just the creative and funny Lenses for which it is best known. Snap has been steadily investing in increasing AR skills in the country and helping ‘Lens creators’ build better experiences. Lens is the term that Snapchat uses for its AR-driven filters.
“We’ve done a number of Lens Studio workshops and Lensathons, which are basically international lens hackathons. We are seeing across the industry that augmented reality is representing a really fascinating new career opportunity for technology enthusiasts. It is accessible even from a young age, but then it scales all the way up to really advanced, incredibly immersive and interactive experiences as well,” Murphy explained.
The company has so far taught AR to students from different schools and colleges across India including IIT & SIES at Mumbai, NIFT Hyderabad, Pearl Academy, Delhi, Christ University, Bangalore, etc.
While Murphy admitted that “a lion’s share of engagement around augmented reality is still rooted in creative expression,” or Lenses or filters that are funny and entertaining, he said that early Lens creators from India are seeing a massive adoption and the technology represents a new opportunity.
He gave the example of Lens Creator and medical student Jagmeet Singh whose Dark Moody Lens has got over 1.2 billion views on the platform. Another example of a Lens which viral from India with over 30.5 billion views is the Smoke Flare VR, developed by Indian Lens creator Vivek Thakur.
But Murphy is also confident that more businesses will start adopting AR to drive customer experiences. “Augmented reality represents this upcoming shift in our ability as people to create and then experience software applications in a totally new way. It is much more actually in line with the way that we as humans kind of naturally behave and imagine the world around us,” he explained during the interview.
In his view, Snap expects “more and more businesses will recognise AR as a fantastic way to create highly differentiated customer experiences.”
“I think as that starts to happen more and more, the types of skills that early Lens creators are building will become more and more increasingly in demand,” he added.
Murphy also credited the company’s Lens Studio platform for ensuring a quick and easy way to deploy AR experiences.
“One of the huge benefits of Lens Studio and the way that we’ve kind of architected it is that this platform allows anybody to create an AR experience and then deploy it seamlessly without any extra work across both iOS and Android user bases. Our team has continued to do a huge amount of work, effort into ensuring that our AR technology works as seamlessly as possible across as many different device types,” he said.
Regarding Snap’s partnership with Flipkart, the company has developed AR experiences for the e-commerce platform. Snap’s Camera Kit will soon be a part of Flipkart’s “Camera Storefront”, where users will be able to start their shopping and engagement journey through the AR Camera. For instance, Snap’s AR capabilities will allow Flipkart users to try on clothes that are being sold on Flipkart.
Snapchat is also partnering with Zomato where the Snap Map is on the app. The Map will soon have access to restaurant information including hours of operation, locations, contact details, customer reviews, menus, and photographs. Users will soon be able to place food orders on Snapchat itself as well.
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