Snapchat’s hiring history and recent job postings suggest the company is likely working on some smart glasses of its own.
On Friday, CNET’s Sean Hollister published a detailed report that examines some key hires by Snapchat in the consumer hardware, electrical engineering, and augmented and virtual reality space.
Hollister, citing the LinkedIn profiles of current Snapchat employees, highlights that Snapchat now has a team of almost a dozen wearable experts, and has also hired industrial designers who have worked on Nokia and Logitech hardware.
The idea that Snapchat is secretly planning to launch its own smart glasses isn’t exactly new — people began speculating about some sort of “Snapglasses” back in 2014 when the company acquired the Google Glass-like startup
Vergence Labs, which sold stylish sunglasses that could surreptitiously capture video by tapping a button on the side of the eyewear.
In addition to the Vergence Lab team, CNET points out that Snapchat has hired an eyewear designer, Lauryn Morris, and a former recruiter for Microsoft’s Hololens augmented reality goggles, Mark Dixon, among others with relevant hardware experience.
In many ways, Snapglasses that allow you to instantly record and post what you’re seeing to your Snapchat Story would make a lot of sense, but only if they were indistinguishable from other non-smart eyewear.
Snapchat founder and CEO Evan Spiegel, who is often seen wearing aviators around (MYKITA + Maison Martin Margiela sunglasses to be exact), could be looking to beat the Google Glass team at its own game by creating stylish sunglasses that let you take photos or record video without making everyone around you feel uncomfortable.
In his report, Hollister points out that Spiegel once likened being recorded by Google Glass as akin to feeling “l
ike you have a gun pointed at you” back in 2013.
But that was more than a year before Snapchat acquired Vergence Labs, and with sunglasses hugely popular among teenagers and college bros everywhere, it’s hard to entirely discount the idea that Spiegel hasn’t been hard at work trying to figure out exactly what a Snapchat wearable would look like.
Another possibility is that Snapchat is working on an augmented or virtual reality app, looking to the future and what Snapchat will look like on headsets like the Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR, HTC Vive, and Microsoft Hololens, all of which are launching this year. Still, the hardware and eyewear design hires still point toward more than just a Snapchat app.
Snapchat declined to comment.