It’s no surprise that Snapchat has seen a difficult few months, with competing platforms such as Whatsapp, Instagram and Facebook mimicking (and in some cases improving) its main features. But Snapchat certainly isn’t going down without a fight. Introducing Snapchat World Lenses and Custom Stories.

1. World Lenses

Snapchat’s popularity skyrocketed after the addition of its face filters. More recently however, the app introduced World Lenses, which is certain to pique user’s interests again. These live filters/lenses allow users to add augmented reality elements to their surroundings. This groundbreaking innovation is tonnes of fun as it not only allows users to overlay 3D elements in their world, but you can actually walk around the object to see it from different angles!

This feature is already available to experience yourself. Simply use the rear-facing camera, tap the screen once and select the World Lense you’d like to use. It’s that simple!

The best (and most fun) way to learn is to try it out for yourself, but if you’d like a bit more info, check out the video below:

2. Custom Stories

Today Snapchat announced its latest feature called ‘Custom Stories’. This feature allows multiple users to add images and videos to one story. Custom Stories are intended for collaborators to document specific occasions or periods, and to share their experiences with their viewers. After losing some individuals to the likes of Instagram Stories, this is a clever tactic as it encourages users to involve others, which will likely increase the number of active Snapchat users.

There are two ways of using Custom Stories. Users can add others to a Custom Story to either contribute or watch the stories. Alternatively, a user can create a geofence that allows friends of friends located in the same area to contribute to the same snap pool. As Darrell Etherington from TechCentral points out, this is “super useful in settings like weddings where the people you’re hanging out with might not be part of your actual Snapchat friends group.”

While mainly for shorter periods of time, Custom Stories can last as long as you want them to, disappearing only if no one has contributed to them in the past 24 hours.

Final Thoughts

While Snap Inc is still recovering after going public and the platform is desperately trying to fight off competition, these two additions are pretty good attempts at staying relevant. One could argue that the World Lenses are a bit gimmicky, but the addition of Custom Stories might just do the trick to put Snapchat back on the map. That is, if Facebook doesn’t adopt the idea in the next couple of weeks…

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