Snapchat Wants To Send You Ads By Identifying Objects In Your Selfies

Try to remember the last photo you took on Snapchat: did it include a recognizable tourist spot? Perhaps a cup of coffee? The next time you take a similar photo, you might find a handful of ad-heavy filters waiting to be applied to the scene as Snapchat recently received a patent that would allow it to use image recognition technology to send users ads and other filters related to the picture content. 

The patent, which was filed in January 2015, would create technology to identify items in users’ pictures, and then offer them filters — image overlays — related to these objects.

Snapchat contends that the process would allow for a “compelling way for users to personalize, supplement, and enhance” their snaps.

According to the patent, the image recognition technology would analyze a photo and produce at least one photo filter based on objects pictured.

These created filters could include ads from brand merchants or content simply related to objects in the photo, Snapchat says.

For example, Snapchat surmises that a person taking a photo that includes a portion of the Empire State Building would then receive filters associated the building.

In this case, the recognition could create “a King Kong filter that would place the giant ape on the Empire State Building in the photograph at different perspectives. Therefore, a picture of the south face of the Empire State Building might see King Kong’s back, while a picture from the north face might see King Kong’s face looking at you.”

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When it comes to more branded — or ad-heavy — filters, Snapchat says that the image recognition software could, for example, detect a coffee cup or other menu item and then use geo-fencing to determine where the image is being taken.

By recognizing that the photo was taken inside a certain restaurant would then allow the business to offer users specialized filters — such as those that include calorie counts or “celebratory graphics” — or even coupons. In certain cases, the business could create a game that would entail customers taking a certain number of photos, and in turn, receive a coupon or free item.

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The Verge points out that Snapchat could one day use the technology to crete an automated auction system for the filters, letting companies compete to buy the advertising rights for certain objects.

Of course, as with any patent, it’s possible that Snapchat never uses the image recognition technology. Still, the messaging company is no stranger to branded filters. For months, it has offered filters that promote things such as newly released movies.

[via The Verge]