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Snapchat Rolls Out Augmented-Reality ‘World Lenses’ for Rear Camera

This picnic was dull as heck until this rainbow showed up.

The world, as we all know from living in it, is very boring. Luckily, there’s now a way to spruce it up, with Snapchat’s World Lenses.

Snapchat’s live filters have been impressive for adding real-time 3-D effects to faces and selfies, but World Lenses are for your rear-facing camera. Take a picture of any scene, and you can tap to add floating, real-time elements to your picture, like a floating rainbow or rain cloud, or just a big “Hello!”

Playing around with the feature on Snapchat in Android, it’s definitely impressive. There’s a nice feeling of depth to the live filters, along with a small shadow effect, that makes the effects feel more embedded in the real world — more a part of the actual picture — than the flat stickers previously available in Snapchat.

Perhaps notable? Snapchat announced the feature this morning, just a few hours before Facebook’s F8 conference kicks off. Last year, Facebook-owned Instagram ripped off the core concept of Snapchat — short, disappearing videos — and re-created it as Stories in Instagram. Instagram Stories now has 200 million active daily users, while Snapchat has just 160 million.

Showing off a feature that Facebook is unlikely to have replicated, on one of Facebook’s biggest media days, must feel pretty nice to those at Snap HQ.

Snapchat Rolls Out Augmented-Reality ‘World Lenses’