Three years ago, rainbow barfing Lens introduced Snapchat’s Lenses in a playful package that ultimately changed the face of social media.
Today, Snapchat launched speech recognition lenses, a feature that will certainly bring hours of engagement for users — as depicted in Sarah Perez’s report on TechCrunch and video below — but will have deeper implications for the future of socializing and commerce.
Like its visual precursor, this new Lens play is more than good fun — it points to Snapchat’s overall augmented reality (AR) strategy, and bears major implications for the future of social media in an immersive context.
While Spectacles, the company’s hardware play, is still finding its footing in the marketplace, Snap’s AR back-end is already generating incredible value for the company — with $281M in Q4 2017 ad revenue, an increase of 74 percent year-over-year and 38 percent quarter-over-quarter.
The recent explosion of Voice and Chatbots — as well as the steadfast growth of AR Audio — indicates a desire among consumers to interact with computing devices in more naturalistic ways; notably, through conversation. These new speech recognition Lenses allow Snapchat to test out what new audi0-visual languages emerge to capture its market.
Just as hashtags revolutionized text-based social media, auditory tags as filter memes could easily emerge as a commonplace aspect of social media in shorter time than any of us expect.
In-and-of itself, this means mountains of new voice insight into (and data gathered about) its users. But when we look at its recent team-up with Amazon, there is a clear financial incentive to having a strong voice feature in the platform. It integrates a more fully realized pipeline that more deeply connects the dots between consumer, advertiser, and retailer.
So if you think Amazon’s 1-Click ordering activates your compulsive side, just imagine what happens when it becomes one-word ordering, directly from within Snapchat. That’s the possibility baked into the speech recognition Lenses — and it’s only just the beginning.
For more emerging technology and media coverage, including cryptocurrency, blockchain, VR/AR, AI, and more, follow Jesse Damiani on Forbes and on Twitter.
Jesse Damiani is Editor-at-Large of VRScout, Series Editor of Best American Experimental Writing, and CEO of Galatea, a screenwriting and project management tool for AR and VR stories.