By: Nick Gambino

Easily one of the coolest features of Snapchat is the ability to drop interesting 3D filters on your face making you look like a dog (I don’t need a filter for that) or a rainbow-puking psycho or any number of Dr. Seuss-on-acid characters.

But now they’ve added an even cooler feature, World Lenses, which uses augmented reality to animate your environment. Now instead of using the front-facing camera for whacked-out selfies you employ the rear-facing camera and point it at the environment.

You’re given a number of options to add to the world around you. Add happy mushrooms, smiling rainbows, crying clouds, dripping gross words and other word animations. Each will come alive and interact with the world around you. You can even throw seeds on the ground and watch them bloom into flowers.

“World Lenses will help Snapchatters decorate the world around them in even more fun and creative ways,” Snapchat told TechCrunch when the new feature was first announced.

Snapchat doesn’t refer to the technology as augmented reality though that’s what it is. Instead they prefer to use phrases like “paint or decorate the world.” Not sure what’s to be gained by not acknowledging the use of AR tech but I’m sure there’s a good reason.

Using the new World Lenses feature seems pretty easy. All you have to do is simply point your camera at anything, your office, a field, your car, etc. and tap the screen. A list of filters will pop up for you to choose from. Select the one you want and it will apply it to whatever’s in frame. Now you can record and invite friends into your own personal nightmare.

Snapchat says they plan to update these lenses daily so there shouldn’t be any fear of getting bored with the feature. I for one don’t use Snapchat but if I did I could see myself only using the lens features until I was literally puking rainbows.

What are your thoughts on the new World Lenses update? Is it another robust addition to the Snapchat arsenal or a hokey gimmick? Let us know what you think in the comments section below!


Nick Gambino is a regular script writer and tech beat reporter for NewsWatch. He lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and daughter.