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Snapchat Quietly Acquires Seene, Gets Ball Rolling on 3D Selfies

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Seene has been kicking about for a while now, it uses advanced 3D mapping technology to allow people to take 3D selfies. It's a neat idea, but it still feels very developmental, like it's still on the edge of really taking off. Rest assured, though, take off it will, and the fact that Snapchat sneakily bought them a few months ago just compounds that.

Over the weekend, TechCrunch learned that the photo messaging behemoth had picked Seene up for an undisclosed sum. Their team will reportedly be relocating to Los Angeles, although it's unclear how many of the original team are staying on. Snapchat have declined to actually comment on the acquisition, not because they don't want people to know about it (there's nothing they can do about that now), but likely because they're probably still deciding what they're actually going to do with it.

It raises an interesting dilemma which many startups have to face - do you advertise the technology exclusively to potential buyers, or do you release a commercial app and hope for an acquisition, but risk losing it? In some cases, apps will be regarded as competitors if a big hitter had their eye on the same technology, so rather than acquiring them, they might just bury them. This is exactly what Twitter tried to do to Meerkat, and it was a miracle they didn't succeed.

In this case, the most likely scenario is that Seene will simply be assimilated into Snapchat. Yes, I did just compare Snapchat to the Borg, and what. Supposedly the Seene team only raised $600,000 to get the startup off the ground, which would suggest that Snapchat probably didn't have to spend much money to snap them up (sorry, I had to). It's the technology they're interested in, not the name.

It wouldn't be that much of a leap to imagine Snapchat bolting on a 3D selfie function. All the fundamental components are already there, it's just a case of bringing them together in the right way. There isn't a great deal of practical benefit to it, it just looks kinda neat, and more to the point, 'practicality' and 'selfie' don't really belong in the same sentence.

Of course, the technology isn't reserved to selfies, it could be applied to anything. It basically maps the contours of objects in the viewfinder and reconstructs them. The wider implications of this are very exciting, and you can imagine Snapchat will have a lot of fun figuring how to incorporate it into their filters. Say what you will about Snapchat, but they've never been ones to squander the potential of new tech.



Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. Follow him @Songbird_Callum


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Snapchat Quietly Acquires Seene, Gets Ball Rolling on 3D Selfies Reviewed by Callum Davies on Wednesday, June 08, 2016 Rating: 5

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