Snapchat Expands Its Face-Swapping Lenses Beyond Selfies to the Real World

Now, anything can be overlaid with 3-D graphics

Snapchat world lenses will change often.
Snapchat

Snapchat launched its wacky, colorful lenses in 2015 as a way to turn users’ photos and videos into selfies that vomited rainbows, zombies or dogs. Now, anything in the world can be overlaid with 3-D graphics.

Today, the app launched a new feature called world lenses that uses a phone’s rear-facing camera to decorate any scene with the same augmented reality-like technology. Snap has long been building its own version of augmented and virtual reality that it calls 3-D technology to animate photos and videos. And brands including Jeep and L’Oréal have built sponsored lenses for ad campaigns.

With the update, users point the camera at an object and add graphics like flowers and rainbows to their snaps. Similar to existing lenses, world lenses will regularly change to feature new graphics.

The rollout of lenses is reflective of Snap’s broader goal to be a “camera company,” including the launch of its video-recording Spectacles last fall and its ongoing product war to keep up with Facebook-owned Instagram, which claimed last week that its Snapchat clone Stories feature now reaches more people than Snapchat with 200 million daily users.