In a bid to increase user base and generate more revenues, Snapchat has announced introduction of a new feature – ‘custom lens creation’. So, from now on , Snapchat goes further into augmented reality by letting users create their own custom lenses.
How this works
These lenses can be created for a particular occasion and will be activated for use at a predefined time by the user. Snapchat aims to garner revenue from this feature by charging for these lenses starting from $9.99 and this will increase based on the duration, size of the location and other factors selected by users. For e.g., one can create a custom lens for a birthday or a marketing event and the lens will be available to all Snapchat users present at the geographical location chosen by the purchaser. The cost of the lens will increase with the population of the location chosen. This feature may prove as a great marketing tool and help in creating the right buzz.
The lens creation has been introduced in the desktop version as well as the iOS application in the US and is slated to be introduced soon on the android platform too. The users have an option to choose from over 150 templates and and text of their choice. This can be done by accessing the ‘Settings’ option on the app and then selecting ‘Filters and Lenses.’
Snapchat v/s Facebook & Instagram
Snapchat is continuously trying to project itself as different from Facebook and Instagram who have been trying to replicate Snapchat features successfully for a while. This news has generated a positive response and Snapchat is hopeful of generating more profits at the same time providing affordable lenses to all its users at large.
Snapchat is often criticized for its augmented reality masks which lets one disassociate from reality and makes one believe in an artificial perceived reality. This feature would take the users further into the realm of the world that does not exist by letting creation of custom lenses.
Why this may lead to depression
Though on the face of it, Snapchat is essentially a ‘fun’ app , which lets you add dog ears, deer eyes and rainbow tongue but once you are addicted, it becomes quite apparent that there are lots of psychological effects of this augmented reality. As the thin line between the real version and the lens version blurs, users may often find themselves believing in the glowing, beautiful vision created under the garb of lenses totally cut off from what they are and how they are perceived by others in the real world. Many studies claim that such features may lead to anxiety and depression in users.
While this feature may bring cheer to investors of Snapchat and the already addicted users of the platform, it is important for everyone to be aware of the fragile virtual world we are living in. How one is online might be totally different from how one is in real life and the app should be used for recreation and fun only rather than pinning ones hopes, beliefs and dreams on this make believe world of masks and lenses.