After achieving viral and financial success with its Gender Swap and Baby Face camera filters, Snapchat has returned with the augmented reality equivalent of Benjamin Button.
On Thursday, the app added the Time Machine Lens to the carousel so that users can see what they will look like at various stages of their lives.
The camera effect expands on the Baby Face Lens that morphs users' likenesses into baby pictures. In addition to the wildly popular baby filter, the Time Machine Lens adds four more age options, ranging from teenager to senior citizen, all within the same Lens.
Another new addition with Time Machine, as well as the Gender Swap and Baby Face Lenses is real-time video, with a slider available to adjust the age selection. However, according to a company spokesperson, this functionality is limited to compatible devices, namely iPhones 6S and new and a select group of Android smartphones (Samsung Galaxy S10, Samsung Galaxy S10+, Samsung Galaxy S9, Samsung Galaxy S9+, Samsung Galaxy A70, Huawei P20 Pro, Huawei Y7, Huawei Y9, Xiaomi Redmi Note 7, OnePlus 6T, and Pixel 3a). Other devices will fall back to the snapshot mode for these filters.
The Time Machine filter mirrors the function that FaceApp brought to iOS and Android users earlier this year to great fanfare until privacy fears knocked the app off its perch as the top overall app on the App Store and Google Play. The app is now outside of the top 1,000 apps on the App Store.
In Snap's second-quarter financial results, Snap attributed Snapchat's daily active user growth, which rose from 188 million to 203 million year over year (and rose further to 210 million in the third quarter), in part to its Gender Swap and Baby Face filters, with more than 200 million interacting with the Lenses within the first two weeks of release.
"Augmented reality has become a daily behavior for the vast majority of our community because Snapchat opens into the camera," said Evan Spiegel, Snap's CEO, in prepared remarks.
"Our strategy is to continue driving innovation in fundamental AR technology while building a platform for creators and partners to power augmented reality experiences for our community,"
It's that innovation that has helped Snapchat withstand challenges from Facebook's AR platform and mobile app toolkits from Apple and Google, all of which continue to capture the imaginations of users, and fuels the AR industry's drive towards mainstream relevance.