Augmented reality experiences created in Lens Studio now have a permanent home in the Snapchat app. On Tuesday, Lens Explorer will begin giving users access to a scrollable screen full of a variety of new Lens Studio creations.
The new Lens Explorer feature is denoted by a smiley face icon in the top right corner of the camera screen when the Lens carousel is active. Tapping on a selection within Lens Explorer unlocks the experience and activates it in the camera.
According to a company spokesperson, Lens Explorer will display creations based on location and other factors. Also, branded Lenses will not be available in Lens Explorer experience at launch.
Snapchat is also prepared to ensure that the content meets its established guidelines. Users will be able to report offending experiences via a flag button, and the Snapchat team will also review some Lenses based on usage patterns to determine if punitive actions, such as Snapcode deactivation or a creator suspension or ban, are necessary.
Creators have published more than 100,000 augmented reality experiences in Lens Studio since the tool launched in Dec. 2017. Those creations have garnered more than 2.5 billion views to date, according to a Snap spokesperson.
Lens Explorer stands as Snapchat's latest and perhaps greatest effort to make Lens Studio creations more discoverable. In addition, Lens Studio icons in the carousel will now be appended with an "i" button to access more Lenses. Now, Lens Studio experiences will have nearly the same level of accessibility as 3D Bitmojis and Sponsored Lenses.
But Lens Studio is just one of Snapchat's initiatives designed to support developers. Recently, the company unveiled Snapkit to enable developers to integrate Snapchat features, such as Bitmojis, Stories, stickers, and login credentials, into their own apps. The company has also established its own incubator, Yellow, to nurture startups working in augmented reality and interactive storytelling.
By making it easier for developers to create for Snapchat (or at least integrate Snapchat features into their app), Snap is growing an ecosystem that may ultimately drive more users to its app.