How Google is Preparing for Fully Immersive AR Environments

Since its inception, one of the biggest use cases of AR on mobile remains the ability to play with your appearance whether through clothes, accessories, or makeup. Snapchat and Instagram are no stranger to this trend, and now Google is making its mark in the space with its own update.

Specifically, the tech giant tapped ModiFace and Perfect Corp, two companies highly involved in AR beauty technologies, to deliver a feature that gives online shoppers a way to virtually try on makeup without having to deviate from their Search results.

Separately, Google teamed up with Snapchat to put an immersive twist on its ‘Year in Search’ trends overview. Here’s a high-level overview of the latest.

Bringing the benefits of in-store shopping to mobile

Similar to YouTube’s AR feature for makeup try-on launched last year, Google’s latest push utilizes top brands including L’Oréal, Estée Lauder, MAC Cosmetics, Black Opal, and Charlotte Tilbury allowing consumers to try on a variety of makeup products without having to set foot in a store to test the look and feel.

Here’s how it works: When a user searches for a particular lipstick or eyeshadow product such as— “L’Oréal’s Infallible Paints Metallic Eyeshadow,” — they’ll be directed to the virtual try-on shopping experience at the top of their search results. From there, they can browse a library of photos of models representing a range of skin tones to help compare the shades and find the right product for them

“Seventy-three percent of U.S. shoppers are planning to buy online,” said Archana Kannan, Group Product Manager, Shopping and author of the announcement regarding this past holiday season’s expectations. “There are plenty of perks with online shopping, from the convenience of doing it from your couch to the multitude of options right at your fingertips.”

Details aside — the key takeaway here is that more than ever consumers are finding out about products from social media, then clicking through direct links to retailers to make purchases or even transacting directly on social platforms like Facebook or Instagram without leaving the app. A big driver of this shift? Influencers.

Endorsements from experts and enthusiasts

As part of the effort, Google is taking into consideration how consumers ultimately make their decision and a big trend as of late is recommendations from trusted sources like influencers.

In this vein, the company is unveiling recommendations from beauty, apparel and home and garden enthusiasts and experts, including online influencers, when a consumer browses Google Shopping on their phone. For example, hear the latest from professional makeup artist Jonet about makeup looks, or get holiday gift ideas from Homesick Candles.

“Sometimes it’s helpful to get recommendations and see how products work for other people,” explained Kannan. “Once you’ve found a product you love, you’ll be able to easily shop these recommendations.” This feature comes from Shoploop, a product formerly part of Area 120, Google’s in-house incubator.

The ‘Year in Search’ AR experience

The end of the year always seems to be nostalgic and Google and Snapchat are leaning into this in an innovative way. A new Google Lens accessible through Snapchat gives users an interactive walk down memory lane of all the key events of 2020 and noteworthy insights.

For instance, clicking on a photo of a Black Lives Matter protest highlights that compared to the previous year, searches of the term were up five-fold. Further, searches for “protest near me” were made in every state in the country for the first time ever.

“As 2020 comes to an end, Snap and Google have partnered to bring Google’s iconic “Year in Search” story to life with an immersive augmented reality experience. This marks the first time Google’s “Year in Search” has been brought to life in AR, and the campaign’s debut on Snapchat.”

Additionally, Snapchat also reports that for the first time Google will run its “Year in Search” video as ads on the platform.

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How to add a tweet to a snap on Snapchat and share it with friends and followers

woman holding using phone tv movie at home
Sharing a tweet on Snapchat only takes a few taps.

  • You can add a tweet directly to a snap you send on Snapchat by linking your accounts.
  • When you send a tweet on Snapchat, people who receive your snap can swipe up to open the tweet.
  • You can only share tweets from public Twitter accounts — locked Twitter accounts can’t be shared on Snapchat.
  • To add a tweet to Snapchat, navigate to the tweet and open the Share menu, then select “Snap Camera.”
  • This feature is currently only available for iOS users.
  • Visit Business Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

In days past, if you wanted to share a tweet to Snapchat, you needed to screenshot it and then share your screenshot.

But now, there’s a better, more integrated option: iOS users can share tweets to Snapchat directly with a few taps, allowing their followers to navigate to the tweet and see the replies (or share it themselves).

Here’s how iOS users can get started sharing tweets to Snapchat.

How to add a tweet to Snapchat

1. Open Twitter and navigate to the tweet you want to share. The tweet must be from an account that’s public – if the tweeter’s username has a lock icon next to it, the tweet can’t be shared.

2. Tap the tweet’s sharing icon, which looks like an arrow pointing upwards out of a box. It’ll be in the bottom-right corner of the tweet.

3. You’ll see “Snap Camera” as a share option. Tap it. If you don’t see this option, it means that either Twitter or Snapchat needs to be updated, or you don’t have Snapchat installed and set up.

2   How to add a tweet to a Snap
Snapchat will be labeled as “Snap Camera.”

4. Snapchat will open, with your tweet inserted on the screen. Don’t worry about the placement of the tweet – you can adjust this after you’ve recorded the snap.

5. Take your snap – it can be a picture or video. Add any text, effects, or filters you’d like, and then move the tweet to where you want it. You can also rotate and resize it freely.

6. Tap the send button in the bottom-right corner of the screen and select your recipients, then tap the blue arrow in the bottom-right to send it.

5  How to add a tweet to a Snap.PNG
You can add filters, texts, stickers, music, and more to the snap, along with a tweet.

To open the tweet you sent so they can see the replies or share it, your recipient will need to swipe up on your snap.

Related coverage from Tech Reference:

Read the original article on Business Insider

How Twitter is Driving Tweet Exposure and Virtual Hangouts

It’s hard to believe more than seven years ago Snapchat unveiled “Stories,” a feature allowing consumers to string together images and videos into a digestible, diary-esque sequence that would disappear after 24 hours. It proved so popular that several other prominent players including Instagram and LinkedIn created their own Stories doppelgängers.

Most recently, Twitter is carving its name in this space. Last month Twitter introduced its own take on stories—fleeting tweets called Fleets. Now it’s making it easier to share Tweets inside stories on other platforms.

Integrating Tweets into Instagram and Snapchat

In the latest move, users can transform Tweets into stickers within Snapchat, with the ability to customize content with other traditional creative elements found across other versions of Stories including captions, filters, and Bitmojis. Previously, if someone wanted to share a tweet on Snapchat, they’d have to resort to taking a screenshot of it and manually inserting it as an image, without having access to any of Snapchat’s camera or editing features for added flair.

Here’s the full breakdown:

  • Tap the share icon on a Tweet (it must be public — not a protected tweet)
  • Select the Snapchat icon at the bottom of the share menu to create the sticker. This will open directly to your iOS Camera and generate an immovable sticker if you are already signed in and not in the process of creating a separate Snap
  • Take your Snap — either photo or video — and customize with captions and Snapchat Creative Tools including your Bitmoji, Cameo and Filters
  • Select the blue “Send” button to distribute to individual friends or groups
  • Once shared, the Snap will link back to the Tweet  thread on Twitter where you can see the whole conversation

Outside of Snapchat, Twitter also revealed it will soon launch a small test of a similar feature to let iOS users share tweets in Instagram Stories.

Doubling down on virtual experiences and live video

In the virtual hangout realm, Twitter also announced its acquisition of the video app Squad. Per TechCrunch, the startup’s co-founders, CEO Esther Crawford and CTO Ethan Sutin, along with the rest of Squad’s team will now join Twitter’s team across its design, engineering and product departments.

Similar to the likes of Houseparty, Squad allows groups to connect with each other in real-time but the key differentiator that helps it rise above the noise is screen-sharing. As shown in this example, any chat participant can share their screen which can spur discussion around other platforms and content forms including private messages. Put differently, the objective here is context and facilitation of broader discussion around Tweets.
Squad will help Twitter “bring new ways for people to interact, express themselves, and join in the public conversation,” Twitter VP of Product, Ilya Brown, shared in a tweet.

Earlier this year, the startup noted that its usage had increased 1100% as a result of the lockdowns due to the global pandemic. It also garnered $7.2 million in venture capital from First Round, Y Combinator, betaworks, Halogen Ventures, and ex-TechCrunch editor Alexia Bonatsos’s Dream Machine amongst several other investors.

The future of multi-participant chat

2020 was a case in point that to succeed, platforms must innovate and provide new functionality to expand app usage. Tools including interactive Q&As, live chats, gaming, and livestreaming are golden tickets to ensuring longevity for their ability to help both creators and brands achieve more personal forms of entertainment and monetize their offerings.

While the future of Fleets may be uncertain, Twitter’s acquisition of Squad feels like a step in the right direction to standing the offering up. Connection to real-time trends and close friends is tablestakes in today’s landscape and perhaps this move will open the floodgate for a revamp of Twitter’s app. For instance, a dedicated tab emphasizing video clips and discussions via Squad. With the angle of simple, multi-participant chat, it also ticks another important box regarding consumers craving more intimate interactions that are welcomed versus those that are forced and disruptive.

Image credit via TechCrunch

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How Snapchat is Preparing for the Next Creator Movement

2020 has seen many brands and platforms step outside of their comfort zones and experiment with ways they can deliver content at scale and create personal experiences. A player of late that has stood out in departure from the original focus on intimate communications is Snapchat.

Here’s a breakdown of what the company has released these past few weeks and what they could mean for marketers and creators.

Making video creations and communication more expressive with ‘Sounds’

Earlier this fall Snapchat released ‘Sounds,’ a TikTok-rival feature that allows users to enhance their Snaps with music from a curated catalog of both emerging and established artists. Tracks can be added pre or post-capture and then shared either publicly, via your Story, or directly to specific connections.

To add music before recording video, select the Sounds tool designated by the music notes icon on the right-hand side of the Camera screen and select a track from the Featured Sounds list. Alternatively, use the Sounds tool after taking a Snap to drop in a song after you record.

The current Sounds catalog offers “millions” of licensed songs from Snap’s music industry partners including Warner Music Group, NMPA. and Universal Music Publishing Group. Per Variety, beyond music, Snapchat is also working on introducing the ability for users to create their own sounds and add them to Snaps — an update expected to roll out globally on the platform in the coming months.

Acquiring mobile music app Voisey

Delving even further into the music industry space, Snapchat parent company Snap Inc. recently acquired startup Voisey, a mobile music app founded in 2018 that allows users to record short videos using professional vocal effects and backing tracks provided by producers. Clips are one-minute in length following the ever popular short-form format dominating the social media sphere.

Think of it as a musical equivalent of stickers and filters, where users can pick from a selection of user-created backing beats, hit record, and then customize the content by overlaying to the track with their own vocals. More specifically, they can add auto-tune, choral, spacey amongst other voice effects.

“We are on the verge of a revolution in music creation with the boundaries between creator and audience blurring like never before. Apps like Voisey focus on giving consumers tools that enable them to go from zero to 100 faster than ever before,” said Mark Mulligan founder of MIDiA Research in a statement to Business Insider.

The move seemingly follows a trend in which apps are more eager than ever to deliver unique creative at scale. Instagram, for instance, allows users to create high quality photos, TikTok the ability to create share-worthy short-form videos, and now, the window of opportunity centers on the next generation of music creators and giving them the tools to collaborate and work efficiently and effectively.

Unveiling ‘Spotlight,’ a short-form video feed

Taking a page out of TikTok’s playbook and Instagram’s ‘Reels,’ Snapchat introduced a short-form video feed option, ‘Spotlight,’ showcasing the top Snaps submitted on the platform by more than 249 million users and offering financial incentive for the most entertaining content. Snaps in this designated feed will play on a continuous loop until the user swipes to the next one. Previously, Snapchat users were limited to seeing snaps posted by their friends or posted by publishers in the app’s Discover feature.

As part of the push, Snapchat is offering a million dollars per day in funding, which it will distribute to the best Spotlight clips. The app will utilize a similar algorithm to TikTok in ranking each clip based on engagement. In particular, factors like total views, view time, and number of Favorites and Shares will be weighed. Clips are displayed in full screen, so the intent is for the platform to utilize specific indicators to better tailor the feed over time. In terms of how brands can get involved, a spokesman said Snap expects it will introduce ads to the product in coming months.

Instagram’s Explore page, TikTok’s ‘For You,’ YouTube’s recommended videos, and now Spotlight — it’s clear that a discovery engine is no longer a nice-to-have but a must-have as creators become the crux of social media engagement. With an emphasis on exclusive content, these feeds are evolving as the key differentiator that will continue to etch platforms out above their competitors in the fight for online talent.

Photo credit via The Verge

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