The popular disappearing photo app is reportedly working on its first augmented-reality product. Last month, Snapchat C.E.O. Evan Spiegel was photographed wearing what appeared to be a pair of dark, very circular smart-glasses prototype.
This 20 billion company is best known for its unique and sometimes bold moves in content features, redefining journalism through their Discover page and attempts at event marketing through Stories. They’ve succeeded in software features, so now their next step may be towards hardware.
Interest in developing its own wearable product was first noticed in 2014 during the last hype wave surrounding Google Glass. Snapchat acquired Vergence Labs, a startup that produced a pair of Google Glass-like glasses equipped with an embedded camera, for $15 million in March of 2014.
Even more speculation began when Snapchat became a member of the Bluetooth Special Interest Group, which gives them the right to use Bluetooth technology to build hardware products. Also, they recently just hired new employees from major augmented reality groups, such as Microsoft’s HoloLens, PTC’s Vuforia and eye-tracking tech maker Eyefluence.
All indications point to the idea that Snapchat might be using these new hires in attempts to learn more about augmented reality technology and more effectively alter a platform for developing a pair of smart glasses. These glasses could do away with the extra steps involved in snapping a shot, and that could encourage people to use the service even more than they already do. Meaning more money for Snapchat, who already makes money from sponsored images and photo filters. It’s still not certain if Snapchat will produce a pair of smart glasses, but guess we’ll just have to wait and see!