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Snapchat now uses speech recognition to animate your face

Feel strange sticking out your tongue to get that Snapchat Lens to change? Snapchat’s latest Lenses react instead to audible keywords. Rolling out starting Wednesday, August 1, the new Lenses animate using specific trigger words.

First spotted by TechCrunch, the new lenses use speech recognition instead of facial recognition to identify when to trigger an animation. You can ask Alexa for something using single-word triggers to animate the augmented reality mask. Saying “OK” for example will bring up the hand symbol in one while saying “love” brings dancing hearts in another. On-screen instructions let users know what word will trigger the effect.

The update follows the first audio reactive lenses earlier this year, but react to specific words instead of changing with the volume like the lenses launched this spring. Snapchat also has Lenses that play audio and voice-altering options. The voice-activated Lenses join other animated options, like opening your mouth to barf rainbows to gain a slobbery puppy tongue.

The animated lenses could prove popular with video, using the keywords to add the effect at a specific point in the recording. The Lenses also work for taking stills, before, after or during the animation. Since there is no requirement to stick your tongue out or raise your eyebrows, you can smile, duck lip (but please don’t) or make whatever expression you can maintain while saying, or just after saying, the keyword.

The audio-sparked Lenses are already heading out to the Lens carousel, but some users may not see them for a few days as the feature rolls out. Like other Lenses, Snapchat says the app will update periodically update with new options.

Augmented reality lenses are a major focus for the social network, this year alone launching custom face filters in Lens Studio, Lens Explorer to find new Snapchat’s new Snappables Lenses are AR games you play with your face, and Snappables. The latter are game-like Lenses, where the game is controlled by your movement or the touchscreen. Other games use the user’s photo.

Earlier this year, the social network launched a new way to monetize the app’s popular Lenses with shoppable AR filters. The filters are unique to the specific product and include a link to the product.

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