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Snapchat Leak Reveals New Location-Based AR Feature

A flaw in website security reveals Snapchat partnership with artist Jeff Koons a day early.

Snapchat have not been doing terribly well lately, with profits down and falling stock prices. In an effort to bolster its image and create some buzz, the company began cryptically Tweeting out a link that led to a countdown clock to a big reveal. Unfortunately, that clock had a flaw.

A journalist from Business Insider quickly realised that the clock relied on data gleaned client side – from the user’s own PC. Hence, it was a simple task to change the PC clock to trick the website into revealing its secrets early. The reveal turned out to be a partnership with artist Jeff Koons.

Koons is famous for creating kitsch pop-art sculptures, such as his famous steel balloon animal. The new location-based augmented reality (AR) feature appears designed to allow users to overlay digital recreations of some of Koons’ artwork, such as the aforementioned balloon dog, on to the real world. It’s not completely clear how the location-based aspect will tie-in, though some analysts are speculating that perhaps certain sculpture images will only be available in certain locations.

Though Snapchat fixed the problem after Business Insider exposed the flaw, much of the information had already been gathered, including several images of the sculptures as they would look in various location around the world.

Also uncovered was a sign-up form for artists, which appeared to offer the prospect of other artists getting to display their works in AR in a similar fashion, since the form requests artists to sign up and show off their portfolio to Snapchat.

The official reveal of the new Snapchat feature is due later today.

VRFocus will bring you further information on Snapchat VR as it becomes available.

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