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Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel says he’s banned the word ‘metaverse’ at his office

April 28, 2022, 9:57 PM UTC

Snapchat founder Evan Spiegel announced that new augmented reality features are coming to his company’s product Snap Spectacles, glasses that add a layer of augmented reality onto the real world, along with a drone that follows users and takes photos. 

The new products, unveiled on Thursday, are part of an effort by Snap, Snapchat’s parent company, to branch out from its roots as a social media service. It has been increasingly pushing into hardware devices such as its Spectacles, the first version of which debuted in 2016.

Currently, Snapchat has 332 million daily users globally, and has a market capitalization of $47 billion. On Thursday, its shares rose 6.4% to $28.81.

Updated Snap Spectacles

The latest Snap Spectacles, Spiegel said, “change the way you interact when you can walk around and use your hands, and see computing brought to life.”

There are two key new updates: The first is the Lens cloud that lets developers build AR experiences for users, while the second lets users using the same AR lens interact with one another. This allows users to occupy the same virtual spaces and play the same games.  

How is this different from the metaverse?

The “metaverse,” a buzzy tech industry term popularized by Facebook founder Mark Zuckberberg, describes a fully immersive digital universe. However, Snap’s technology is aimed at enhancing the real world. Spiegel explained: “When we talk about AR, we’re trying to augment the real world around you. So our fundamental bet is that people actually love the real world: They want to be together in person with their friends.”

Snap avoids even using the word “metaverse” in its office, Spiegel said, calling it “ambiguous and hypothetical.” He added, “Just ask a room of people how to define it, and everyone’s definition is totally different.”

A photo-snapping drone

Snapchat, originally launched as a photo exchange app, is diving deeper into the camera industry by launching Pixy, a palm-size flying camera. The drone can follow its owner, either closely or up to 30 feet high.

Spiegel stressed that the device is easy to use: “There are no controllers. There’s no complex setup. Simply select a flight path and let Pixy take it from there.”

The drone costs $230, additional batteries $20; dual battery chargers are $50, according to the New York Times.

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