Yesterday, the world discovered that the proverbial middle child of tech, Snap Inc., has a visual product search feature hidden within its code. And the code revealed that they may be partnering with Amazon to utilize this feature.
This sent Snap shares up because it could potentially resolve the revenue problems that the social media company has been facing since its inception.
Visual product search could make Snapchat’s camera a more general purpose tool for seeing and navigating the world, rather than just a social media maker. It could differentiate Snapchat from Instagram, whose clone of Snapchat Stories now has more than twice the users and a six times faster growth rate than the original. And if Snapchat has worked out an affiliate referrals deal with Amazon, it could open a new revenue stream. That’s something Snap Inc. direly needs after posting a $385 million loss last quarter and missing revenue estimates by $14 million.
But as many of us know, tech is a vicious industry where predators can swoop in at any moment to challenge your company. Enter Zuck.
Facebook is getting into the augmented reality (AR) advertising business, entering a space previously dominated by Snap.
Facebook announced Tuesday that it would begin offering AR ads in the News Feed. People will be able to use their mobile device's camera to participate in the experiences
Oh, Zuck, you cheeky, Napoleonic little shit. You're on a roll. You passed Warren Buffet in net worth this week. Facebook is at an all-time high. And that still isn't enough. Not even 24 hours after we discover that Snap is going to get into the AR retail game, you swoop in like Kanye West at an award show to steal the spotlight from the people over at Snap.
Although Zuck is a fierce opponent, don't expect Snap to take this lying down.
Snap has been the king of AR for a while now and the only thing stopping them from becoming a dominant social media and tech companies is the inability to monetize. Although they've integrated advertisements, filters and an eerily creepy, Big Brother-esque facial recognition system, they haven't turned a profit. However, they are clearly taking a step in the right direction by partnering with Amazon, and if they make money off of this partnership, their platform has potential to catapult itself into the tech VIP suite.
So, what happens next?
Who is going to outplay who?
No one knows the answers yet, but we do know that the competition is heating up like Michael Beasley taking three-point shots after doing some cocaine in the locker room. There has been a little beef between the two ever since Instagram and Facebook introduced stories, filters, sales in stories and pretty much everything else that Snapchat came up with first.
But this time, instead of competing for a place that millennials use to share regrettable videos, pictures the food they could barely afford or 1,000 seconds worth of shitty concert footage, the platforms will be competing in the retail space.
One Facebook AR ad test from Michael Kors let people try on a pair of their sunglasses virtually. Sephora, NYX Professional Makeup, Bobbi Brown, Pottery Barn, Wayfair and King will debut experiences this summer.
It looks like Facebook is focusing on fashion and furniture. Snapchat is looking to partner with Amazon which sells... well, everything. Which leads me to believe that these platforms have the potential to coexist, just as they have since Facebook started copying Snapchat's ideas.
We have reason to believe that Facebook may be looking to carve its niche in fashion because Instagram recently announced it will allow items to be sold through its Instagram stories. Logically, the next step will be for Instagram users to "try on" these prospective items with Facebook's AR platform, which are a change of pace from Snapchat Lenses. Although the Lenses allow people to purchase products directly from the app, the AR filters don't allow the customers to try the products on in the way that the new Facebook AR model does in the Michael Kors ad. If Instagram and Facebook are able to utilize AR properly and boost retail through the influencers on the social media site, they can become unstoppable in the world of online fashion retail.
It's Snapchat's turn now. Maybe they'll be able to specialize in selling all the obscure daily items that you might need outside of fashion and furniture, but who knows? After all, someone found that hidden feature within Snapchat's code, not in a Snap Inc. press release.