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You’ll look ridiculous playing Snapchat’s new AR games, and maybe that’s OK

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When the iPad first came out, people looked kinda ridiculous using it out and about. 

That doesn’t quite compare to Snapchat’s new AR games feature, “Snappables,” which consists of games that let you control what’s happening using your face.

As witnessed in the Snappables trailer, you can fight aliens in an Space Invaders-style game by moving your head around, or pump iron at the gym with your eyebrows. You can also invite friends on Snapchat to play along in multiplayer games.

There are very few of us with the confidence to play Snappables in public, but at least Snap is encouraging you to try. Read more…

More about Tech, Gaming, Apps, Snapchat, and Augmented Reality

Snapchat lenses just got a lot better, if you have an iPhone X

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Attention iPhone X owners: Snapchat is finally making good on its promise to make its augmented reality selfie lenses better.

Today, the company is officially launching a new lineup of lenses that’ve been optimized for the iPhone X’s front-facing TrueDepth camera.

First previewed last fall during Apple’s iPhone X launch event, Snap specially designed the lenses to take advantage of the face-tracking abilities of the iPhone X’s TrueDepth camera. What this means for you, a selfie-obsessed Snapchat user, is that the new lenses will be better able to “stick” to your face, making them look slightly more realistic (or, as “realistic” as a brightly-colored mask can look, anyway). Read more…

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Snap reportedly bought its very own 3D game engine

Snapchat’s parent company bought a web-based 3D game engine startup out of the UK this past May, Business Insider (paywalled) reports.

PlayCanvas is a development tool focused on letting people easily design rich 3D environments. Unlike products from companies like Unity and Epic Games, PlayCanvas’s game engine was entirely browser-based and was optimized to run on low-power devices. The focus of the WebGL engine stretches from configuring 3D models to running entire games.

The small London-based company was founded in 2011 and raised just $590,000 in seed funding from investors including the Microsoft Accelerator and DC Thomson Ventures according to Crunchbase. We don’t know how much the deal went for.

While many of Snap’s recent acquisitions have focused on bolstering consumer-facing features, PlayCanvas seems to be focused squarely on developers. The most obvious use of a tool would have been to integrate the technology into Snap’s Lens Studio product where developers can build their own AR Lens effects. Snap has recently been drawing more attention to third-party AR creations, and it’s clear that if the company wants to reach any sort of scale in its augmented reality plans, it’s going to have to hand over the reigns to a developer network.

We have reached out to Snap for confirmation.

Selfie app Snow, once a Snapchat clone, raises $50M from SoftBank and Sequoia China

 It’s been a while since we heard from Snow, the Snapchat clone app in Asia that Facebook once tried to buy, but today the company behind it has scooped up a $50 million investment from SoftBank and Sequoia China.
Snow was started by Naver, the Korean firm behind popular messaging app Line, and it had proven popular in Japan, Korea, China and other markets in Asia thanks to a focus on… Read More

Instagram should let users save and share their photo preferences

 While the world waits for Instagram to launch a location-sharing feature à la Snapchat, it’s worth wondering about the potential arrival of something far more simple and obvious: user-preset filters.
Instagram now allows you to prioritize your favorite filters at the beginning of the list and leave the ones that you don’t use often at the end. However, each user has their own… Read More

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7 of the most hard-to-reach Snapchat geofilters around the world

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Putting a snazzy geofilter on your Snapchats is something many of us don’t think twice about. But, have you ever swiped right in some of the world’s most far-flung and hard-to-reach places? 

Even in remote spots like waterfalls, caves and forests, there are snazzy geofilters for you to spruce up your travel snaps. 

Never mind the ‘pics or it didn’t happen’ rule. The new rule is: geofilter or you weren’t there. Here are seven of the most remote geofilters around the world: 

Jozani Forest, Zanzibar, Tanzania 

This geofilter appears in a forest in the only national park in Zanzibar, on an island off the coast of Tanzania, Africa. The forest also happens to be home to the Zanzibar red colubus monkey — a species that only exists on that island. While you’re snapping monkeys, be sure to search for the forest’s geofilter.  Read more…

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Crunch Report | SpaceX Successfully Re-launches a Rocket

Oculus co-founder Palmer Luckey leaves Facebook, SpaceX successfully re-launches a rocket, Cloudera files for IPO and Snapchat now allows you to search Stories. All this on Crunch Report. Read More

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10 Snapchat tricks to make you a power user

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Think you know Snapchat inside and out? Think again.

With so many frequent updates, Snapchat’s now more feature-packed than ever before. And honestly, who the heck can even keep up with them all?

Not to fret! Whether you consider yourself a power user or not, here are 10 tips to help take your Snapchat game to the next level.

1. Create Snapcode from any website

Snapcodes aren’t just for adding your friends anymore. You can create your own Snapcodes for any website and share them online for other Snapchat users to scan, or if you’re really nuts for them, you can print them up and include them on, say, flyers. Read more…

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Gobi raises $500K to take on Snapchat

 Norwegian startup Gobi raised $500,000 at a $15 million valuation to take on Snapchat with its “Stories” communication tool. The platform enables users to create public and private groups where users can share photos and videos that stay around for three days before vanishing into digital pixel-dust. Read More

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Snapchat adds famous women to its selfie lenses for International Women's Day

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Snapchat is making its own contribution to International Women’s Day with, what else, a set of new animated lenses.

The app updated its lenses with three new offerings for the occasion: animated lenses celebrating Marie Curie, Frida Kahlo and Rosa Parks. 

A spokesperson for Snap said the lenses will be live in the app for 24 hours and are meant to celebrate women they represent.

The lens for Kahlo, for example, transforms your face into the artist’s iconic look complete with flower crown, red lipstick and, of course, unibrow. In a statement, the Frida Kahlo Corporation said the lens is meant to “capture the faces of all her followers around the world.” Read more…

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Snap has already tumbled 11% on day four

 Snap, the parent of Snapchat, had a great first two days on the stock market, only to be followed by two terrible ones. Shares quickly tumbled to beneath $22, an over 11% drop in morning trading. This means that most investors are already losing money on the social media company. Snap opened Thursday at $24 per share. It is still above its $17 IPO price, but that’s mainly relevant for… Read More

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Forever alone: Why too much social media use might lead to loneliness

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The more time you spend staring at your smartphone — scrolling through Facebook, trolling on Twitter, snapping on Snapchat — the lonelier you’re prone to feel, researchers say.

A national study on young adults found that frequent use of social media might be associated with increased feelings of isolation. As anyone with FOMO knows, watching other people’s digital lives is an imperfect substitute for real-world interactions.

“We are inherently social creatures, but modern life tends to compartmentalize us instead of bringing us together,” said Brian Primack, the study’s lead author and director of the Center for Research on Media, Technology and Health at the University of Pittsburgh.  Read more…

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Did Snapchat leave money on the table?

snapchat-money2 Snapchat priced its IPO at $17 per share on Wednesday, raising $3.4 billion. Then it opened Thursday at $24 per share and closed at $24.48. That’s a 44% gain for the select investors who bought into the IPO.  And that gain looks great…for new investors. But it also means that Snapchat could have sold its shares for a higher price! If Snapchat priced its shares just a little higher… Read More

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A Snapchat drone?! Here's what we know

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Snap Inc. has been playing with dronesThe New York Times reported Tuesday that the company has worked on building its own drones, citing three people “briefed on the project who asked to remain anonymous because the details are confidential.”

The piece doesn’t get into details, but the premise is intriguing — and not at all surprising for a company that defines itself as a “camera company” in its own mission. 

“Snap is a camera company. We feel like we’re really at the beginning of what cameras can do, evolve from being just a piece of hardware to software connected to the internet,” Snap CEO Evan Spiegel said in a 35-minute video released about the company ahead of its initial public offering. Read more…

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Snap is developing drone for users to share overhead videos and photos: NYT report

One of the products that Snapchat owner Snap Inc. is developing as “a modern-day camera company” is a drone, reports the New York Times today.

Sources for this bold claim are “three people briefed on the project who asked to remain anonymous because the details are confidential.”

The drone would help users take videos and photographs from overhead, then share that visual data with Snap, and presumably, other users of the service.

Snap is scheduled to go public later this week in a long-anticipated IPO.
(more…)

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Kate Nash to Snapchat: 'Where's my paycheck?'

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Snapchat has been having some fun with music on the app. Last month, they helped Ed Sheeran debut 30-seconds of his new song “Shape Of You” via a lens, where users could don blue sunglasses and dance amid fictional disco lights. 

But not everyone is playing along. Kate Nash, an English singer-songwriter perhaps best known for the song “Foundations,” accused Snapchat of stealing the rights to that exact song. She broadcasted her accusation on Twitter Friday, posting a video of her using the lens:

Hi @Snapchat Do you pay ppl for the use of their work? Been off a record label now for 5 years. Is this legal? I should be paid PLS RETWEET pic.twitter.com/9qq9iKltFG

— Kate Nash (@katenash) February 17, 2017 Read more…

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The Washington Post hunts younger readers, launching on Snapchat Discover

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Snapchat just welcomed another news outlet to its exclusive content network. 

The Washington Post launched its first edition of Snapchat Discover Monday, bringing more political and breaking news coverage to the app ahead of its initial public offering

The Post, owned by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, joins dozens of other media outlets looking for new revenue sources and younger audiences. 

The first edition featured an explanatory story on President Donald Trump’s travel ban, an exposé on pizza rat and a (very long) question-and-answer with Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway, among other  stories. Read more…

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Crunch Report | Snap files publicly for its massive IPO

Snap files publicly for its massive IPO, Uber will pause its service in Taiwan starting February 12th, Pokémon GO crosses $1 billion in revenue, Facebook lets you search images by content and Licking County government gets its offices shut down by ransomware. All this on Crunch Report! Read More

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CEO Evan Spiegel’s Snap ownership is worth about $3.5 billion

snapchat-ads Snapchat parent Snap Inc. has finally revealed its long-awaited IPO filing. The social messaging company, which plans to go public in early March, just shared details about its growth trajectory and financials.  And while we knew that Snap has raised at least $2.4 billion in capital from a long list of investors, we now know the ownership percentages. We also know the pre-IPO values of… Read More

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Snapchat celebrates Black History Month with 'Young, Black and Proud' story

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Snapchat is taking new steps to celebrate Black History Month in its app.

The app is rolling out a set special geofilters and launching a new “Our Story” called “Young Black and Proud,” which encourages Snapchat users to share their experiences and what makes them proud, to commemorate Black History Month.

As with other “Our Stories,” the content will be curated by Snapchat’s editorial team and be live in the app for 24 hours. To go with the Our Story, Snapchat has added a set of Black History Month-themed geolfilters meant to encourage users to talk about their backgrounds and what makes them proud. Read more…

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Snapchat filter stops toddler's tears right in their fluffy bunny tracks

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You’d think it was impossible for an adorable baby to get any cuter, but add the bunny Snapchat filter to the mix and your heart might just explode.

This little one has the best reaction to seeing herself transformed. Her mood instantly changes when she notices her own cuteness.

She’s feelin’ herself, just like we all do under the veil of the godsend that is Snapchat filters.

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Snapchat’s next Lenses could identify and add to landscapes as well as faces

snapchat-world-lens Snap, Inc. is working on an updated version of its in-app Snapchat lenses that would be able to recognize landscapes as well as faces, according to The Information, and intelligently overlay augmented reality animations and objects overtop of scenes captured through your camera. This is different from its existing smart Lenses, which can add features like snowfall to scenes, because it can… Read More

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Snapchat is about to tell us so many things about its business

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Snapchat is about to get a little less secretive. 

Snap Inc., the mobile app’s parent company, will file for an initial public offering late next week, according to anonymous sources speaking to Kara Swisher of Recode. Given that it’s Swisher, a tech press veteran, we’d categorized them as reliable. 

The fact that Snapchat is going public hasn’t been kept a secret. The company secretly made moves, as in quietly filed to the Securities and Exchange Commission, back in November. (Snap was able to secretly file because it made less than $1 billion last year. ) Read more…

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Snap will reportedly file publicly for its massive IPO late next week

Evan Spiegel Snap — the makers of Snapchat — had confidentially filed for its IPO late last year, but it looks like we’ll be getting a look at the inner guts of the company’s financials and workings as early as late next week. The company will file publicly for its initial public offering late next week, according to a new report from Kara Swisher over at Recode. This is yet… Read More

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Crunch Report | AppDynamics CEO Talks Cisco Acquisition

AppDynamics CEO David Wadhwani and Cisco VP of IoT Rowan Trollope talk to us about the $3.7 billion acquisition, Alpahbet biotech moonshot lands $800 million in funding and a Snapchat Spectacles case melts while charging. All this on Crunch Report. Read More

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Trying out Snapchat’s new universal search capabilities

snapchat-search Snapchat released its redesigned app with universal search capabilities on iOS earlier this week, so I decided to give it a try — you can watch me fumble around in the video above. The search bar functions like, well, a search bar — if you’re looking for another user, group chat or Discover publisher, you just type them in. It also introduces Quick Chat recommendations, so… Read More

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Crunch Report | AppDynamics Acquired for $3.7 Billion

Cisco acquires AppDynamics for $3.7 billion, Facebook launches a Snapchat story clone in its app in Ireland, Amazon owns more of its shipping logistics, Apple isnt giving up on India, and Apple hires Dropcam co-founder Greg Duffy. All this on Crunch Report. Read More

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Crunch Report | Sprint Takes 33% Stake in Tidal

Sprint takes a 33% stake in Tidal, The SEC is investigating Yahoo, a study from Cambridge on vaccinating fake news, Apple fixes more MacBook Pro bugs and a big Snapchat redesign hits iOS. All this on Crunch Report. Read More

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This is not a drill: Snapchat is about to get a major redesign

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Big changes are headed for Snapchat — again.

The company is set to roll out a major redesign of its app in the coming days, Snapchat confirmed Thursday. The new look, which is being previewed to the company’s beta testers on Android now, adds a search bar, new navigation and a global live story that will feature snaps from all over the world.

The new look is much more polished than previous versions of the app and the search bar makes content much easier to find. It sits at the top of the chat, camera and Stories sections of the app.

There, you can search for friends and get shortcuts to other parts of the app. Finding a friend’s name brings up a one-on-one chat. Read more…

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