Snapchat’s Lenses have largely been responsible for popularizing augmented reality. Since the introduction of Lenses back in September 2015, its in-house team created over 3,000 Lenses. According to the company, on a typical day, about 70 million people interact with Lenses for more than three minutes on average. Snapchat is now democratizing the format so anybody, including brands, can create their own Lenses and attach them to posts, as well as ads on Snapchat.
On December 14, Snapchat launched Lens Studio, a desktop app for Mac and Windows that anyone can use to create augmented-reality Lenses that can be applied to photos and videos shared on Snapchat. This is similar to Facebook’s AR Studio, which the company had unveiled in April for developers to produce “camera effects” (Facebook’s version of Snapchat’s Lenses) and made more widely available earlier this week.