Feedback Loup: Snapchat Announces Diminished Reality

On Tuesday, Snapchat rolled out new features to its platform, including an infinite snap timer, looped videos, emoji drawing, and a magic eraser. With the new snap timer and looped videos, recipients will now be able to see a picture or video until they choose to exit the snap. Once the recipient exits the snap, it is deleted. These are nominal improvements but they show the direction and emphasis of Snap’s R&D as well as it’s technical chops in the field of Augmented Reality.

We are most excited about the Magic Eraser feature, an example of Diminished Reality. The Magic Eraser allows users to remove objects from a photo, by scanning the surrounding colors and filling in over a selected area. Let’s play a quick game of Photo Hunt. How many changes do you see?

If you guessed the number five, you’re correct. In the second picture, the cup and MacBook Pro are missing. However, so is the air vent near the ceiling, the backpack strap, and the adjacent desk’s leg to the right. While the Magic Eraser isn’t perfect at removing objects that are the focus of the picture, it does a great job of removing objects in the background that people typically glance over.

Augment CMO Lindsay Boyajian previously wrote about Diminished Reality (DR), a concept in which the physical world is diminished virtually. Snapchat’s Magic Eraser is a perfect example of DR in use. While AR allows us to overlay content on the real world, DR allows us to remove content from the real world. We expect to see much more DR experiences in the next year, as the combination of DR and AR results in a strong Mediated Reality offering. Mediated Reality will ultimately result in a better user experience than AR or DR alone. Snapchat’s combination of both technologies further solidifies its position as a camera company.

Disclaimer: We actively write about the themes in which we invest: artificial intelligence, robotics, virtual reality, and augmented reality. From time to time, we will write about companies that are in our portfolio. Content on this site including opinions on specific themes in technology, market estimates, and estimates and commentary regarding publicly traded or private companies is not intended for use in making investment decisions. We hold no obligation to update any of our projections. We express no warranties about any estimates or opinions we make.