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Peeling Back the Curtain on Snapchat’s AR Secret

Finding nearby friends through an online platform became a lot easier when Snapchat unveiled its Snap Map offering.

Just a few weeks ago, the disappearing photo social media site introduced Snap Map to the world, and now we’re learning about the potential technology behind it.

Before Snap Map’s launch, Snapchat made several moves to help ramp up its location patent portfolio. Over the last few years, Snapchat has acquired the geofilter patent from Mobli, 245 patents from IBM and startup company Placed.

In 2015, Snapchat acquired the intellectual property of Boston-based augmented reality (AR) location startup company Drop. In addition to its AR location patent, Snapchat also bought Drop’s location-based messaging patent. With Drop’s technology, users are able to post or text pictures of a location which would give followers an alert to check it out when in the area.

While it’s not clear how Snapchat will use this technology’s patents, Drop co-founder Zachary DeWitt commented on the process in which his company’s IP was acquired and what it will mean for digital interactions in the future.

”Our firm view at Drop was that the physical and digital worlds would increasingly converge over time,” he said. “Whether it be a visualization of your network’s location, or contextual content specific to a place, people will be able to interact with the world in a completely different way. It’s clear from Snap’s moves with Snap Map and in recent additions to the company’s patent portfolio that they share this belief and aim to be a key enabler of this trend.”


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