WTF?! Snapchat hasn’t had the best 2018. An unwelcomed redesign and problems with the app saw daily active user (DAU) numbers fall for the first time during Q1. To try and attract new people, the company has turned to the internet’s favorite animal: cats. Feline fans can now use Snap’s AR filters on their furry pets, adding everything from unicorn horns to pieces of toast to kitties’ faces.
The new ‘Cat Lenses’ feature, which was rolled out in an update last week, means Snapchat’s facial recognition technology now works on cats, rather than just humans and some breeds of dogs. It builds on last year's object recognition feature that can identify items such as food and sports equipment, offering various filter suggestions based on the subject.
The new lenses include matching googly eyes or glasses, big lips, and devil horns and wings. As you can see in the photos, the cats in question look overjoyed to be included in this social media phenomenon. I couldn’t get either of my pair to look at the camera long enough to try out the filters, and they seemed even more pissed off at me than usual for daring to shove a phone in their faces.
Lenses. For cool cats and their cool cats Try them meow. pic.twitter.com/UFJtgt8ZWO— Snapchat (@Snapchat) 12 October 2018
Snapchat’s DAUs fell from 191 million to 188 million between April and June, marking the first time it had recorded a decline in user numbers. The company faced a backlash over the redesigned app it rolled out last November, leading to 1.2 million people signing a petition that demanded a return to the original version. The company has also seen celebs including Rihanna and Kylie Jenner slam the firm, which may have played a part in its falling share price. We’ll just have to wait and see whether cats turn out to be Snap’s unlikely savior.