Snapchat has introduced a new Lens Explorer feature that enables users discover and unlock thousands of Lenses built by the Snapchat community around the world. The social media platform has been letting users create Lenses using Lens Studio tools for a long time now. Now, Snapchat has brought a new way to find those lenses within the app. The Lens Explorer feature will appear in the Lens Carousal that pops up when you tap the camera screen. You will now be able to browse through all the unique Lenses created till now, and also be able to view Stories that have been created using them.
Since the launch of Lens Studio in late 2017, Snapchat claims, creators have submitted over 100,000 unique Lenses and they have been viewed by Snapchat users more than 2.5 billion times. Lenses was launched in 2015, and Snapchat says that it is now "the world's most engaged and creative AR platform." It claims that more than 70 million Snapchat users play with Lenses daily, for an average of 3 minutes per day. This means that the Lens Explorer feature was largely overdue. Now, with the introduction of Lens Explorer, Community Lenses will be discoverable alongside the Lens Carousel, making them easier to find and use. For instance, tapping on a smiley face in the carousel of Lenses will let you unlock user Lenses without having to find a Story that unlocks it. In addition to this added discoverability in Lens Explorer, Snapchat users will also be able to browse for Lenses within Search.
"With the introduction of Lens Explorer, Community Lenses will for the first time be discoverable alongside the main Lens Carousel, offering Snapchatters even more Lenses to play and express themselves with and boosting exposure for Lens creators," a Snapchat spokesperson said in a statement. "Making Community Lenses more prominent within the app is just the latest way we're excited to be investing the creator community."
To begin discovering new Lenses, tap the new icon that appears when the Lens Carousel is active in the Lens Explorer tab. Tap a Lens tile to unlock a Lens and you will be taken directly to the Snap Camera. As mentioned, you can also browse Lenses in featured Stories. You can unlock a Lens by swiping up on Snaps in these Stories.
Showcasing Lenses within the Snapchat app is expected to give creators more incentive to create more of them. Notably, the Lens Explorer feature will be available on iOS at launch, and as mentioned, it will show up as an icon when you activate Snapchat's Lens Carousel by tapping and holding the screen. It will make it to Android devices sometime in the future. Snapchat has not said exactly when Lens Explorer will roll out.