Mobile augmented reality company Snapchat now has a special option for romantic message exchanging this Valentine's Day, a day which, incidentally, happens to be the first one in 116 years where Sweethearts, the original heart-shaped candy, will be unavailable for purchase.
The virtual consolation prize from Snap comes in the form of an interactive AR Lens on the Snap Camera, the newish desktop app that brings Snapchat's AR Lenses to webcams on PCs and Macs.
With the new candy heart Lens, a fleet of animated candy hearts float around the user's head in their camera feed. Users can reach out and virtually grab one of the hearts for the message to display in the foreground of the experience.
The unique new AR-powered dynamic harnesses the Snap Camera to let users replicate the nearly extinct act of flirting with confectionery, but without the empty calories.
In addition to the candy heart Lens, Snap Camera will also serve up the new sticker crown Lens for platonic friends, which overlays a halo of brightly-colored hearts, stars, and emojis around each user's head in the camera view, as well as the blooming roses Lens, a familiar favorite of Snapchat addicts ported to the desktop version. In total, Snap Camera offers a dozen Lenses in the Valentine's Day section of the app, each with a Snapcode for sharing with others.
For those who prefer the mobile experience, the three new Lenses will not appear in the Snapchat AR carousel, according to a company spokesperson. But they are accessible via the Snapcodes embedded below.
However, because the desktop version of Snapchat can add AR effects to any computer-connected camera and output to other video chat apps like Skype and Google Hangouts, Snap Camera might be the preferred AR solution for star-crossed lovers who find themselves miles apart on Valentine's Day.
In a world of Snapchat, Instagram, and Tinder, perhaps Valentine's Day cards and candy are passé anyway. For those who find themselves uncuffed this season, a cutesy augmented reality video message might be just the trick to get the attention of someone's would-be Valentine on Feb 14.