Today Snapchat announced its newest feature, Lens Explorer, which makes the social network a little more communal by letting users easily access Snap’s repository of user-created Lenses. While the variety is nice, incorporating user-generated content has its downsides: More often than not, it sucks.
Snap introduced Lens Kit in 2017, a tool that lets creative Snapchat enthusiasts make their own AR designs for the social network. They’ve made a lot.
“Since we launched Lens Studio in late 2017, creators have submitted over 100,000 unique Lenses which have been viewed by Snapchatters over 2.5 billion times,” said Snapchat in its announcement post.
Snapchat says its Lens Explorer is available now for iOS, and will show up as an icon when you activate Snapchat’s “Lens Carousel” by tapping and holding the screen. The feature wasn’t live for us yet, but you can find and try out user-created lenses by searching for the lens you’d like and browsing the Community Lens category.
That doesn’t mean the lenses are any good, though. Sure, you might find a handful of fun or useful effects and filters, but who wants to use poorly made, augmented reality creations that add off-colour maple leaves to your head and call it “Flower Crown”, or a grainy monochrome filter meant to evoke the look of something charred and aged?
By comparison, Snap’s own iPhone X lenses are way more enjoyable, and a lot more polished than many of the community-generated options — sick pot leaf crowns not withstanding.
We reached out to Snap to see when the feature will arrive on Android devices, but had not heard back at time of writing. In any case, enjoy your new selection of fan-made lenses.