Snapchat has finally announced Camera Kit as an expansion to Snap Kit announced in 2018. Snap opened its platform for third party developers with the launch of Snap Kit on June 14, 2018. Now, as we inch closer to two years of its introduction, Snap is announcing Camera Kit. Snap Kit debuted with four core pieces of functionality as a way to appeal to different apps. These four cores were Creative Kit, Login Kit, Bitmoji Kit and Story Kit. The ephemeral messaging platform added a fifth element in the form of Ad Kit. At Snap Partner Summit today, we are looking at the sixth addition – Camera Kit. Also Read - Snapchat gets new Action Bar, Topics and Story Replies at Partner Summit 2020
Camera is the most important ingredient in Snapchat’s ephemeral messaging cuisine. Even before the launch of Snap Kit, it was rumored that Snap will open its camera API to developers. Now, after a long wait of two years, Snapchat’s brilliant camera can be integrated by developers into their own app. Like Snap Kit, the Camera Kit also ensures privacy of Snapchatters is not affected in any way. Ben Schwerin explains that developers are only getting access to Snapchat‘s Lenses when they integrate Camera Kit with their own apps. Also Read - Instagram may soon introduce Snapchat-like disappearing text messages
Snapchat Camera Kit: What is it?
Snap also revealed that more than 800 apps have integrated with Snap Kit since 2018 and nearly 150 million Snapchatters are engaging with these integrations every month. With Camera Kit, the company is opening the doors to eight years of work to any developer. While Creative Kit, Login Kit and Bitmoji Kit have their appeal, Camera Kit could become the most important tool in Snap Kit’s arsenal as it aims to attract developers around the world. For a developer, the immediate benefit would be that they can leverage all the lenses built using Lens Studio and bring them to their app. Also Read - Snapchat introduces two new AR lenses that turn floor into lava or water
They also get access to Snapchat’s AR capabilities, which is second to none. Lastly, these developers can enrich camera experiences on their own apps using tools built by Snap. “Snap is the largest platform for AR creation in the world,” the company said during the keynote. Schwerin told me that the company has been working on opening its camera capabilities to third party developers for some time now. However, it found that the Lens Studio was not mature enough for new possibilities on top of other applications.
With Lens Studio 3.0, he says the company finally has a tool that can be leveraged by any developer out there. Camera Kit’s backbone is Lens Studio, which is now used by over 10 million artists and developers around the world. Schwerin further added that Camera Kit will appeal to startups and young developers since “young people communicate visually”. With Camera Kit, these developers will be able to get a platform ready without huge investment or deploying resources.
The Camera Kit announcement today looks like Snap scratching the surface as to what is possible with its camera APIs in the hands of third party developers. Its launch partners include MLB Ballpark app, Nike, Squad and Triller. The company spokesperson told BGR India that it is looking to expand the platform to more developers. It is also looking to appeal to Indian developers doing creative work in the world of imaging and augmented reality.
Back in 2018, Myntra decided to bring Augmented Reality to its application using Apple‘s ARKit. On iOS, the app made it easier to find the right shoe size. Called Shoe size finder, the feature used a camera to project an outline of a foot where you could place yours and find the right shoe size. With Camera Kit, the same feature could be elevated to a place where consumers can actually try the shoe and understand fit and not just their shoe size.
“E-commerce and product try on will be the biggest market opportunity,” Ben Schwerin told me. Cameras are believed to be the most powerful tools available at our disposal right now. These cameras can be used to build augmented reality applications and experiences. Snap says 175 million Snapchatters engage with the lens ecosystem and some do it 30 times daily. For years, Augmented Reality has stayed restricted to Snapchat and with Camera Kit, AR could find a new avenue and thus become an even more exponential product.