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Snap is investing in AR and AI, but VR isn't on the cards, reveals Director of Product Jeremy Voss

Snap's Director of Product Jeremy Voss has revealed that the company has no plans for VR, but it's investing in AR and AI.

Edited By: Pranav Sawant

Published: Nov 20, 2023, 12:01 PM IST

Snap's Director of Product Jeremy Voss
Snap's Director of Product Jeremy Voss

Story Highlights

  • Snap's Director of Product, Jeremy Voss, has revealed that Snap's primary focus is AR and AI going forward.
  • He also revealed how Snap differs from the competition today.
  • Snap does not have plans to create any VR product.

California-based Snap Inc., the company that owns the multimedia instant messaging app Snapchat, has been making headlines for its AR innovations. In recent times, we heard about its My AI chatbot, localized lenses, and rewards program for India.

As Snap continues to pioneer its lens community and makes Snapchat the most advanced app for self-expression, we took a moment to sit back and Interview Jeremy Voss, Director of Product at Snap Inc. It was a short session where we asked him about the company’s plans, its focus on AI and AR, and where Snapchat stands in 2023.

Can you tell us about how has it been since you started working at Snap and how is it now?

Jeremy – I started working at Snapchat eight years ago but we started growing in India rapidly five or six years ago. I worked on our messaging products then. I was on our product design team for a number of years but now I have our AR and AI product teams here. One of the absolute cores of our app is the camera being able to communicate through augmented reality.

What is the major focus of Snap for the rest of 2023 and 2024?

When asked about Snap’s focus for the rest of this year and 2024, Jeremy hinted that Snap is mostly investing in AR and AI.

Jeremy – I’ve never been more excited, honestly, about Snapchat’s direction and our momentum. Our user base is growing nearly as fast as it ever has, we have over 200 million monthly active users in India and over 406 million daily active users across the world.

So much of the future of how we’re going to interact with computing is through AR and that will be assisted by AI. And those are two of our foundational investments.

Snap has already started working on the latter. Jeremy revealed that earlier this year Snap launched the Anime AI lens, which had 800 million views within the first three days. It’s Snap’s first AI lens and it’s a smash hit. Apart from Lenses for users, he also shed light on the creator side of things. He said that with the advent of AI, the creation of Lenses is going to be easier.

Can you tell us more about the AI and LLMs of Snap?

Jeremy – We’re continuing to invest heavily in My AI and I think that’s really our main product on the conversational AI side. Then on the visual AI side, we released a product called Dreams in India recently. That’s our first personalized visual model. So you upload 5 to 10 selfies and then we actually train a personalised model on your face.

For the unversed, Dreams is an AI tool in the Snapchat app that creates a ‘Dreams pack’ from some of your images. Images in the Dreams pack are all AI-generated. It’s basically a generative AI tool for image generation. So Snap has MyAI, which is a model by OpenAI and then it has its own Dreams personalized visual model. Apart from this, the creator community is also working on AI lenses, Anime AI being the first one.

Does Snap have plans to combine AR, VR, and AI, altogether in a product?

Jeremy – The answer is no. I think where we sit is at the intersection of AR and AI. But not VR. VR is a cool technology.  You use it for gaming, you use it for a lot of different things as it lets you escape from your real world.

But our mission is to bring you closer to your real world. So that’s why we love AR because it augments and enriches your physical world.

When we open up the camera, we’re not opening to a different reality, we’re opening to your reality. So our mission is to use AR.

There are concerts that have their own AR Lens, art exhibits, or shopping, trying on shoes and clothing. Furthermore, a lot of our developers create AR Lenses for education. So there’s so much you can do and it’s fundamentally different from what I think people are trying to do with VR.

How does Snapchat differ from the competition in 2023?

Jeremy – It’s the same way we differentiated on day one, which was opening to the camera and opening to self-expression and communication.

If I’m sending a Snap, I can capture what’s happening in front of me. And I can send that to 10-12-30 friends. And they are each going to receive that Snap as one message from me. And it’s going to start 30 conversations with friends. There isn’t any other app where that’s true.

That’s the differentiator. Instead of opening to a feat of content like most of the other apps, Snap is designed around privacy and ephemerality.

He also mentioned that conversations on Snapchat feel like face-to-face conversations.

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Author Name | Pranav Sawant


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