Snapchat to focus on Stories and camera at partner summit
At its first Snap Partner Summit this week in Los Angeles, Snapchat is ready to discuss expanding access to its camera and augmented reality features. It's a move that will enable more apps developers to piggyback on Snapchat's proprietary technology.
CEO Evan Spiegel and his co-founder Bobby Murphy are set to take the stage on Thursday at the marquee event to outline the priorities for the year ahead.
"Historically, as a company, Snap has been very closed up," says Sophia Dominguez, CEO of SVRF, an augmented reality platform and Snapchat partner. "This is the first big event where Evan and Bobby will take the stage as keynote speakers. It's really important for them to step up and be more open about what Snap is working on."
Snap has worked with a number of developers closely during the past year, including Tinder, Twitch, Giphy, Postmates and Pandora. In fact, Tinder is working to integrate Snapchat Stories into its app, according to partners familiar with the plans, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Here's a look at what else to expect from Snapchat's big day:
Snapchat has declared itself a camera company, but, until now, that has been an abstract concept. So, what does it mean for a social media app that enables users to share fleeting videos to identify as a camera company? The partner summit will likely help clear that up.
Snapchat is expected to introduce new places for its camera to live outside its own app. As on the desktop version of Twitch, Snapchat could expand that kind of access to mobile developers, too. That way apps can tap into its augmented reality.
Snapchat will unveil its gaming platform at the summit, according to reports from Cheddar. Snapchat has had its eyes on mobile games for a while, too, with last year's introduction of Snappables, which are augmented reality games that run through the camera.
Advertisers have already played with Snappables, including King, the maker of Candy Crush.
Last week, Snapchat showed its interest in gaming by partnering with Omlet Arcade, a game streaming platform, which now has a show on Snapchat Discover.
"Mobile gaming obviously is a huge market," says Jason Lee, director of growth at Omlet Arcade. "We saw Facebook drive early growth through gaming, and it's a way to increase engagement."
"If you want to go into gaming, then livestreaming is a major component," Lee says. "A lot of large game developer are interested in accessing the influencers on the mobile gaming side."
Gaming influencers are the most prolific streamers, Lee says.
On Wednesday, Snapchat showed users promotions via a livestream, which enabled people to watch the summit right in the app. Snapchat has already experimented with live video, including during the Winter Olympics, but it has treaded lightly when it comes to letting anyone go live on the app.
Snapchat has been developing programs to help Lens Creators make money from their work with Lens Studio, the platform for building augmented reality experiences for the app.
Creators say there will be new features opened in Lens Studio that make work easier and provide more tools for Lens Creators. For instance, Snapchat has facial recognition technology that can distinguish between pets and humans, so the animated filters can work on both.
It might not seem like much of an advancement, but that goes a long way when expanding the types of Lenses available. The Lens Creators will attend the summit and be able to meet with brands and developers to show off their work.
It's not a tech event without some gadgetry, and Snapchat could take this opportunity to update its line of glasses, called Spectacles. The glasses were first introduced in 2016 and haven't been a big seller, but the company has maintained a commitment toward building hardware.
Part of what has held back the technology is that the glasses are limited. A lot of tech companies, including Microsoft and Apple, are interested in augmented reality glasses, and Snapchat is leading the way in augmented reality. The trick is packing that into functional goggles.
If it unveils a Spectacles upgrade on Thursday, that means it is one step closer.