Snapchat is known for its funny face lenses and quick messages between friends, but the app – and company – is growing up.

At the recent Snapchat Partner Summit 2023, held in Santa Monica, co-founder and CEO Evan Spiegel revealed the service now has 750 million active monthly users.

A key differentiator: Snapchat opens to the camera.

“We found that people were just exhausted to be opening apps into feeds of other people’s content which often times suppresses the creative process,” explained Spiegel in an interview.

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Snap Partner Summit 2023
Snap Partner Summit 2023

Much of what people do on Snapchat is between friends, but that’s changing, with a new option to post public stories anyone can watch.

“Now, you don’t have to choose between having just a private account or just a public account… you can keep Snapchat private for your friends and family and then post to your public story when you feel like sharing with the world,” said Spiegel.

My AI, a chatbot powered by ChatGPT and Snap data, is now open to all users. You can have conversations, get restaurant recommendations and more.

Sights from the Snapchat Summit 2023

It’s the easiest way to get a mobile version of an AI chatbot on your phone right now and well worth a look if you have Snapchat installed on your phone.

Soon, paying Snapchat subscribers will be able to exchange photos with the AI bot. Right now you can send a snap (or picture) to the bot and it will comment back, but soon, the bot will send back an AI generated picture.

Snap CEO Evan Spiegel on stage at Snap Partner Summit 2023
Snap CEO Evan Spiegel on stage at Snap Partner Summit 2023

Augmented reality is a big part of what makes snapchat unique, with thousands of lenses to choose from.

“They were early on to vertical video they were early on to the stories format and right now they’re early on to AR that is this really powerful tool that enables creators to tell stories,” explained Yusuf Omar, Co-Founder of the mobile journalism startup Seen.

Snap is also looking to take their augmented reality tech outside the app with a concept AR vending machine in partnership with Coca Cola.

At the event, I also tried out in store AR mirrors that let you try on clothes virtually.

Tech Reporter Rich DeMuro trying on the latest Snapchat Spectacles
Tech Reporter Rich DeMuro trying on the latest Snapchat Spectacles

You stand in front of them, and they snap a picture of you, then you can cycle through various looks.

There’s a smaller “vanity” version that’s good for accessories. I used it to try on sunglasses with uncanny realism.

Finally, a feature called Fit Finder helps online shoppers pick the perfect size for them. You pop in some of your body stats and the system helps you choose the best size based on shopping data collected from various other shoppers and orders such as return rate.

“We really want to provide utility and value to people’s lives and use augmented reality as a really great way to do that,” said Sophia Dominguez, Snap’s Director of AR Platform Partnerships.