Snapchat is taking advantage of speech recognition technology to enhance the augmented reality capabilities of its social media platform.
The company has announced a new feature that allows its app to recognize simple words like “hi”, “yes”, “no”, “love”, and “wow”. Saying these words will allow users to automatically trigger animated effects; for example, saying “yes” will trigger a zoom effect on the user’s face, while “wow” will overlay a cartoon bow over her head and surround her with text bubbles saying “WOW!”
It’s the latest enhancement to Snapchat’s “Lenses” feature, which applies AI-driven computer vision to the user’s selfie video, enhancing it with animated effects as desired. Lenses is an important part of Snapchat’s business, with Forbes reporting that its AR technology brought the company $281 million in Q4 ad revenue last year – a 74 percent year-over-year jump.
While the platform’s speech recognition is only rudimentary, and it’s being put to a pretty silly application, its emergence underscores the growing prominence of artificial intelligence in social media, mobile devices, and everyday life. And it helps to illustrate why major tech companies are investing so heavily in AI. Consumers are getting more excited about using this technology, and that’s leading to revenues that are making tech leaders say, “WOW!”