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Snapchat’s latest Bitmoji update is about much more than dancing animations. It is updating its Bitmoji-enabled world lenses, the feature that lets you overlay your Bitmoji characters onto your surroundings, to make the animations look more realistic.
Bitmoji, Snapchat users’ emoji-like alter-egos, have appeared in Snapchat’s world lenses since the feature launched last year, but this is the first time to the company has made the feature available in 3D.
Now, when you play with one of the Bitmoji lenses in Snapchat, you can move the animation around on the screen, make it bigger or smaller, and interact with it by walking around and moving the position of your camera.
As with Snapchat’s other lenses, the Bitmoji lenses will be updated regularly, though a company spokesperson tells us Bitmoji will make a regular appearance in Snapchat’s World Lenses.
The update is yet another sign Snap is doubling down on augmented reality. It also comes on the heels of Apple’s big iPhone X reveal, which included Apple executives demoing how its new augmented reality technology could help improve Snapchat’s selfie lenses, a feat that helped boost Snap’s stock in the hours after the event.
Of course, some of Apple’s new AR-friendly features, like its talking 3D animated emoji, could spell increased competition for Snap. If Snap can keep users engaged with its own AR features, like the new Bitmoji lenses, then it could make it more difficult for competitors to gain a foothold with Snap’s prized younger demographic. It also signals to its competition that its camera tech is worth taking seriously, too.