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.

Mobile

Asus's monster gaming phone may cost as much as an iPhone X

Asus understands you can't carry your gaming PC around with you, so it created the ROG Phone, a hardcore, high-specification smartphone designed for mobile gamers. It's coming later this year.
Photography

These point-and-shoot cameras make your smartphone pics look like cave paintings

If your smartphone camera just isn't giving you the results you're looking for, maybe it's time to step up your game. The latest and greatest point-and-shoot cameras offer large sensors, tough bodies, and long lenses - something no phone…
Photography

Here's a few tips to getting the best camera gear on Prime Day

Not all sales on cameras, lenses, and other gear is worth it. But, if you do your research and shop wisely, you might just be able to snag a camera, lens, or accessory you've been hoping to pick up.
Photography

Skip the studio and shoot like a pro with our favorite lenses for portraits

Looking for the best lenses for portrait photography for your mirrorless or DSLR camera? While there's no shortage of options, there are some that stand out. Here are a few of our favorites.
News

Twitter’s new guideline seek to curb abusive comments on Periscope

Twitter is taking aim at serial harassers and trolls on its video service Periscope. Those who are frequently reported for abusive comments or trolling may soon find their account banned or suspended.
Social Media

YouTube videos are now even bigger on desktop — so why are users complaining?

Goodbye, black bars. A YouTube update eliminates the black bars on the desktop video pages. The change makes the video larger and removes the often irking black bars. The update isn't sitting well with everyone, however.
Social Media

It’s over: Tinder won the dating wars. Swipe or stay home

From OKCupid to Bumble, a variety of online dating apps still elbow for superiority, but look at the numbers and the verdict is clear: Tinder wins by a mile. Here’s why the swiping model can’t be beat.
Social Media

WhatsApp video calls supporting up to four people are now rolling out

WhatsApp has finally brought group video calling to the popular communication app, making it possible for folks to have face-to-face conversations with multiple people at once. Stickers are coming soon, too.
Social Media

Facebook dismantles fake accounts that had thousands interested in a rally

A group of coordinated fake Facebook accounts created a rally that had thousands of users interested in attending. Facebook removed the Pages and accounts, shared data with law enforcement and is notifying users that followed the event.
Social Media

Time alerts put the brakes on your Facebook and Instagram consumption

Just how much time do you spend scrolling through the Facebook and Instagram feeds? Facebook is about to tell you. The new features also include daily alerts that tell users when they've spent too much time on the social networks.
Mobile

Here’s how to hide your active status on Instagram

The Activity Status mode on Instagram shows people whenever you are online, similar to Facebook Messenger. If that annoys you, here's how to hide your active status on Instagram with a quick settings change.
Computing

The Facebook dating service will be free of charge and free of ads

Facebook is getting into the dating game. While the feature was one of the surprises from this year's F8, new details suggest what the feature may entail, including a few screenshots from a computer programmer.
Social Media

Three million people quit Snapchat after the redesign

After a million users signed petitions to get the old Snapchat back, the network's user count is showing the early results of the changes with a three-million-user drop in daily active users.
Social Media

Facebook wants to help you find a mentor with its latest Groups feature

Facebook is designed for connecting to other people -- so why not mentors? Today, Facebook launched a program inside Groups that allows for two users to go through a mentorship program together.