Snapchat has added yet another social feature to its mobile app, and this one makes it possible to use augmented reality with a group of friends over video.
Rolling out worldwide this week, the new Group Video Chat feature gives Snap users the opportunity to video conference with as many as 16 friends simultaneously. The feature is activated through the video camera icon in any Group Chat thread. Friends will then be prompted to join with an invitation.
What makes this different from your run-of-the-mill video chat is that it integrates Snapchat's AR Lenses. Using the tool, you can now chat while amusing your friends with a silly face, or making them believe that there's a flying whale in your neighborhood. Or, if you're camera-shy, you can just join via voice or text messaging.
The presence of AR with Group Video Chat gives users a real-time format with which to apply their creative spark. For those who don't have more than one friend to video chat with, it should be noted that Lenses work in one-on-one video chat as well.
The new feature also falls in line with Snapchat's renewed focus on its camera and the multitude of creative ways that Snapchat users can express themselves with it. Augmented reality, both with face-morphing effects and world-bending animations, have been a key to what makes Snapchat's camera different (and why competitors like Facebook have been quick to copy it).