A patent application filed by Snapchat last year heavily implies that the company plans to incorporate augmented reality into its advertising. The technology described within the patent is capable of identifying objects in images and offering up Snapchat filters from relevant brands. For instance, if a user posts a snap with their morning coffee, they will be presented with image overlays from coffee brands.
Object recognition is a “compelling way for users to personalise, supplement and enhance” their own content, Snapchat say in the patent application. And as Snapchat has proven time and time again, the potential for creativity with these filters is only limited by your imagination. Take tourist photos of landmarks, for instance; Snapchat suggest that a snap of the Empire State Building could be augmented to include King Kong.
Advertisers would have the option to sponsor filters for generic objects, like coffee or ice cream, or to produce more specific content — if a user takes a photo where an object is recognised as a venue, such as a bar or restaurant, the image overlay might be a menu, or a discount voucher. “These would complement Snapchat’s current geofilters, which offer users custom image overlays based on location,” says The Verge’s James Vincent.
“Using this kind of machine-vision technology goes beyond the facial recognition we’ve gotten accustomed to from Snapchat’s dog ears and rainbow barfs,” writes Samantha Cole at Popular Science, adding: “It’s worth noting that this comes on the heels of Snapchat’s Memories launch: by telling Snapchat what we care to snap and save or send, we’re likely feeding the company’s recognition algorithms plenty of study material.”