Snapchat launches camera tailored to darker skin tones at annual summit

New AR tools and in-app shopping capabilities were also announced.


Snapchat has launched new camera features that have been tailored to capture people with darker skin tones.

To create the Inclusive Camera, the social media platform worked with directors of photography from the film industry to learn techniques they use to best capture actors with darker skin tones. The new features will become available in Snapchat's Camera Kit, so developers all over the world can easily make their cameras more inclusive.

At its Snapchat Partner Summit yesterday (20 May), the company acknowledged that in the past cameras have been designed to capture white skin. The updated camera aims to allow "everyone to be seen by the camera in the way they want to be seen", Bertrand Saint-Preux, Snap Inclusive Camera team lead, said.

The brand also revealed the next generation of Spectacles, its glasses that bring augmented reality to life by overlaying animated designs created for Lenses directly onto the world. 

Snapchat is also evolving its Lenses, improving shopping features and capabilities for brands, and experiences for Snapchatters.

With Connected Lenses, friends can interact with each other live through Lenses, from across the room or across the world. Lego has made use of the new capabilities with a build-a-Lego-kit-together lens that allows friends to create models together using AR.

A Scan feature called Screenshop allows users to scan an outfit or import saved photos, then helps the user shop for similar looks with recommendations from hundreds of brands. Upgrades to the platform's AR try-on include 3D Body Mesh and Cloth Simulation, which allow brands to begin experimenting with full apparel outfits.

Snapchat is also bringing its technology directly into its partners' applications. Launching yesterday, Bumble users can experience the technology of the Snapchat camera in the dating app, with matches able to send video notes with Snapchat AR to make their "getting-to-know-you" chats more engaging.

Snapchat is introducing Map Layers, which add specialised experiences from both partners and Snap itself onto its Map. The Infatuation's layer shows users great restaurants, Ticketmaster's layer shows concerts and the Memories layer shows users on the Map where they took saved Snaps.

As part of its Creators updates Snapchat is launching Story Studio, a standalone app that gives Creators a suite of intuitive, powerful editing tools; enabling subscribers to send creators gifts and establishing a Creator Marketplace where brands can find and contact verified creators.

Snapchat is making an environmental commitment through a multi-year partnership with Re:wild, an organisation that protects and restores the wild. Together with Re:wild and the US National Park Service, it will be rewilding southern California's parks and launching an in-app educational awareness campaign that includes both original content and AR experiences.

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