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Snapping virtual stickers on real life

Snapchat wants to embed virtual stickers into real places, using augmented reality.

Snap sticks

Snapchat users often add virtual ‘stickers’ to photos and video. They’re like bubbly, colourful illustrations that make real life a bit more cartoonish.

In practice, these stickers are minor edits made to the image file. It’s like overlaying a caption, except that it’s a drawing instead of words.

Getting real

A patent filed by Snap shows one way they might be going to deploy virtual sticker-like decorations to reality, sort of.

The technology would make it possible for virtual objects to be ‘placed’ in a location. When other Snap users point their devices at the same spot, they’d see the same virtual sticker put there earlier by someone else.

How

In practice, the placement of such an AR sticker would require the upload and storage of information about the sticker. An online database would keep meta-data describing things like the details of sticker, its location and its orientation.

When other Snapchat users approached the same site, the technology would push the stored data about the sticker to their device. That data would let the camera/viewfinder show the sticker in that place.

Ad applications

Like so many things Snap, the feasibility of such features largely depends on how fun users find it.

If it takes off, there will almost certainly be more than one ways brands can get involved. Custom branded stickers for Snap users to stick could be a go, as could virtual objects placed by companies themselves.

Will virtual decorations that augment reality for your brand make you re-evaluate the role of Snap in your marketing budget?

Copy Transmission is a Melbourne-based agency :: Better Brands. Loud & Clear.

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