Snapchat has planned a surprise for its users. Just like everything related to Snap, the surprise was shrouded in excitement and mystery.
On its site art.snapchat.com, the company placed a countdown clock on Monday afternoon. What was displayed was a photo of New York City's Central Park with people sitting on the ground.
However, Twitter user and software engineer, Jonah Grant, went ahead and discovered the secret before the time of the reveal. He did this by setting the clock on his computer ahead. What appeared were several versions of the statues of Jeff Koons displayed at different locations all around the world in augmented reality. Grant also saw a YouTube video that unveiled the launch.
From what was revealed, Snapchat is searching for artists and is asking them to submit their work portfolios to Snap Inc. The company previously embraced artists with its in-app geofilters. However, the AR community was closed up until today. That is unlike Facebook and Apple, which have already released AR developer platforms.
"Discover the innovative digital installations of Koons that are scattered all over the world, so you can experience them and learn more about them," wrote Snapchat on the launch site. The digital installations of Koons will be in New York, Washington, D.C., Chicago, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Sydney, Toronto, Paris, Rio de Janeiro, and London.
Koons won't be alone. There is a sign-up form placed at the bottom where artists can participate and have their artworks added on the platform.
The countdown was set to reach 0:00 at 3 PM Eastern Time on Tuesday. The timing aligned perfectly to the public appearance of the CEO of Snap, Evan Spiegel, for the New Establishment Summit of Vanity Fair in Los Angeles.
An onstage interview for Spiegel is quite rare. The unveiling of Snapchat's newest feature with the use of a countdown clock is similar to the launch of Spectacles, Snap's hardware product.
As for this latest development, when a user is nearby an AR ART piece of Snapchat, a special lens will pop up on the screen. There will be an indicator, which will give a guide to the direction as to where the camera should be pointed. Once the marker of a location is in the frame, the user will see an AR ART on the screen. Users of the app will find Snapchat AR ART on SnapMap. However, this has not been confirmed by the company yet.
AR can hide digital content within what's in the real world. This will make you curious as to what might be lingering in a certain place if you hold up your phone. This is an appealing reason for you to open the app if you go to a famous landmark.
The launch of AR ART might just help reinvigorate Snapchat, which it badly needs as its user growth slowed. The app also missed revenue expectations and the competition with Instagram and Facebook remains fierce. Fortunately, Snap’s share price perked up quite a bit after hitting a low on August for botched earnings.