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Snapchat now recognizes food, pets, and more when suggesting filters

November 27, 2017

Snapchat is now using object recognition to identify what’s in users’ photos and serve them relevant filters. So, if you take a picture of some food, Snapchat will suggest filters with slogans like “get in my belly” and “what diet?”

Snap, the company behind Snapchat, confirmed to Mashable that the filters had started rolling out to users last week, but it didn’t provide an exhaustive list of what objects trigger the mechanism. Pets, food, and holiday destinations like beaches all seem to return specific filters, but presumably, Snap will be adding new categories as it goes along. You can test out the filters yourself just by snapping pictures of relevant photos you’ve found online. The filters are available in the normal carousel, accessed by swiping left and right.

From left to right: a freezer bag of chicken tenders (author’s own); a cute kitten; and a random beachfront. Image: The Verge / James Vincent
This isn’t actually the first time Snap has integrated object recognition into its app: the company already uses this feature to let people search for certain objects and events in stories. (Search for “basketball” and you’ll find basketball games, for example.) Combined with its augmented reality masks, it’s advanced features like these that Snap is hoping will keep users interested in the face of fierce competition from the likes of Instagram. A big redesign is also in the works.

With AR and object recognition getting faster and more accurate, it’s interesting to speculate exactly where Snapchat will go with this technology. One thing that seems certain, though, is that features like these will be used for ads and revenue generation.

Last year, we saw patents filed by Snap that described how brands could bid to have their filters associated with common objects. In one patent application, the company described how a user might take a picture of a cup of coffee, with brands like Nescafe and Keurig then battling it out to sponsor a coffee-themed filter. As with any tech, it’s all fun and games until the advertisers get involved.

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