Snapchat to launch augmented reality art platform tomorrow

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Snapchat plans to launch a new augmented reality art platform featuring pop artist Jeff Koons and others. It will allow art to be pinned to specific locations in augmented reality so users can see it when they hold up their phones in the right spot. Snapchat will solicit sign-ups from artists who want their art added to the platform.

Snapchat plans to roll out the feature with art around the world, as seen in these photos from Las Vegas, Sydney, and Paris.

Today a strange “art.snapchat.com” URL featuring a countdown to 3PM eastern time Tuesday over a photo of Central Park and New York’s skyline appeared. When TechCrunch asked Snapchat about it, a company spokesperson told us “😊 we’re excited to share more soon”.

But our savvy readers discovered that using a time hack, you could trick the site to show what will be launched, ruining Snapchat’s big countdown. A source tells TechCrunch the feature is based on technology from Cimagine, an Israeli AR startup Snapchat acquired in December.

TechCrunch reader Paul Stamatiou sent us this video rip via Jonah Grant that depicts a now-removed YouTube video detailing a Snapchat partnership with Jeff Koons that puts one his iconic blow-up animal balloon pop-art sculptures in Central Park. Unfortunately the video is silent but you can get the gist of it.

This sign up form will allow artists to submit their art to be added to Snap’s platform:

AR can hide content on a digital plane within the real world, thereby making you curious of what could be lingering around you if you just held up your phone. That could be an appealing reason to whip out Snapchat wherever you go. Snapchat has already used this feature with its stylized geofilters, goading users to swipe after Snapping to see if a cool filter is available for their location.

[Update: I originally speculated that “If I had to guess based on zero information, I’d say that Snapchat will launch a feature that lets you pin augmented reality art you create at real-life locations that other users can then view when nearby.” Now we know that was pretty close. This article has been heavily edited to reflectthat]



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