Friday 27 April 2018

Snapchat's newest feature takes the fight to Facebook


Chris Graham

Snapchat is trying to stick it to Facebook.

Two weeks after the app revamped its video and audio messaging service, the firm has now introduced 3D stickers which can be pinned to an object in a video.

The emoji will then move, rotate, and scale automatically as the subject - whether it's a pet or a person - moves in the video.

Stickers were introduced by the firm at the end of last month, one of a number of ways the app is catching up with social media giant Facebook.

Altering images had already proved a hit with Snapchat's users when the app introduced a filter option in September, which made you look like you have hearts for eyes, or like you're vomiting rainbows.

The latest so-called augmented reality feature has been rolled out for Android users, while the iOS version will be out "shortly". 

The move comes after Snapchat hired Eitan Pilipski, according to TechCrunch. Mr Pilipski was the VP of engineering at Vuforia, an augmented reality technology that has "the power to connect experiences to specific things in the environment”. 

Snapchat uses "machine vision to recognise distinct objects in a video", the website said, so the app "can track them as they move and keep the stickers in sync".

The latest innovation, which goes beyond what is available on rival Facebook, has impressed many. 

"Have to admire Snapchat's pace of innovation... Emoji's that now move with your videos. Excited to play," one social media expert, Callan Green, tweeted.

As well as stickers, last month's update improved video calls and made it easier to view users' Stories one after the other. 

Expanding its features has seen its popularity surge as it seeks to take on competitors such as Facebook, which reportedly saw its $3bn (£1.9bn) acquisition offer for the start-up rejected in 2013.

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