Snapchat launches AR-enabled Friendship Time Capsule

Snapchat Friendship

In response to findings from a report, Snapchat has launched The Friendship Time Capsule, a new feature that allows friends that can’t be together in person, to create new shared memories through AR on Snapchat.

The Snappable uses machine learning to allow friends to get a glimpse of their friendship in a variety of scenarios in the future.

Snapchat released its second global Friendship study, interviewing 30,000 people across sixteen countries and global experts, to explore how the COVID-19 pandemic and global issues have impacted friendship. Snapchat then launched The Friendship Time Capsule, basing the feature’s concept on the problems friendships are currently going through.

Snap’s recently released Friendship Report showed that the COVID-19 pandemic has led to over a third of friendships (globally) being affected in some way.

In India, covid has further accelerated the importance of digital connections with nearly 91% saying that they have helped friends maintain their relationship, regardless of age. This is much higher compared to the global average.  

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Nearly four out of five friends, 87% say they relied on digital communication to stay connected through the lockdown in India. For 76% of the ones surveyed, those conversations have been deeper, rather than focusing on surface-level topics

Even though there’s been an uptick in outreach to friends, COVID-19 has also led to loneliness for some Indians. Half of those surveyed by Snap said they’ve felt lonely since the pandemic started (51%), simply because they couldn’t see their friends again, which is 13%  higher than pre-COVID-19. 

The upside is that, with the pandemic causing so much isolation, people genuinely want to reach out and check in on those they care about. More than half of the people almost 54% say their friendships are more important to them now and nearly three-quarters, 74% of us are making an intentional choice to reach out to friends that they haven’t spoken to in a while 

This may explain why there was a marked difference between Snapchatters who often communicate visually – and non-Snapchatters – with Snapchatters becoming closer to friends during the pandemic. 

Looking at the (global) data from prior to the pandemic, Snap found that the single event most likely to strengthen a friendship was taking a vacation together (64%). 

Without being able to do that now, Snap wanted to create a way to support its community, and enable this through AR, allowing Snapchatters to share positive thoughts with their friends about where they will go together in the future.

In terms of friends who are no longer in touch, Snap found the ways people would most like to reach out, is through a photo of them and their friend together (42%), or by sending a photo that reminded them of shared memory (40%). Humour also ranked highly, with a third thinking that sending a funny meme or GIF would be the best way to reconnect (31%). 

The Friendship Time Capsule combines all three of these things; by allowing Snapchatters to share silly images of them and a friend in outlandish locations and at different ages, the camera company hopes to bridge the gap for those that have lost touch.

How to use the new feature:

  • Open up the Snapchat camera and select The Friendship Time Capsule on the carousel. 
  • If it isn’t there, hover your camera over the snapcode above and hold your finger on it.
  • Then, take a selfie, select a year, then send it to your chosen friend. 
  • When your friend does the same, the new feature will put you both into a series of scenarios together (including visiting the Moon, and Mars!) from today up to 2120. 
  • It also uses Snap’s advanced machine learning technology to age you and your friend up, depending on the year you have chosen.