The sky is the limit when it comes to augmented reality, but Snapchat's latest innovation is to keep its AR platform grounded.
On Thursday, the company released a pair of new lenses that highlight their new land conversion technology.  The first lens, aptly named The Floor is Water, turns nearby flat surfaces into virtual water, with a wet floor sign anchored in the area to drive home the point. This particular effect is not welcome in my forest neck, where it seems to have been raining constantly throughout 2020.
The second lens, the memorable the floor is Lava, opening up patches of land to reveal a river of molten magma. Entertaining also makes a warning sign appear here.
According to a Snap spokesperson, the lenses are built with an internal version of Lens Studio, the company's AR-creating desktop app. The land conversion features are currently not available in the public release of Lens Studio, but Snap may allow access to it in the future.
In my short test, the water effect is a little less smooth than other proven AR features on Snapchat, with the camera distorting some objects near the floor. The lava version is much more compelling in design because it leaves ground marks in sight.
Both lenses are in the AR carousel. Alternatively, users can scan the snap codes below to unlock the lenses. Readers on mobile devices can click on the links for The Floor is Wet and The Floor is Lava, respectively, to unlock the lenses in the Snapchat app for iOS or Android.
In recent years, Snap has made a commitment to investors to maintain leadership in augmented reality. The company has succeeded in this promise through continued innovation in Snapchat's mobile AR functions, from sound recognition, sky segmentation and hand tracking to speech recognition and image and landmark tracking.
AR innovations have paid off by going viral and stoke user growth. Where appropriate, the lenses for sex change and facial treatment received more than 200 million interactions within the first two weeks after its release in the second quarter of 2019. And a Nike store in the Nike store got Lebron James himself attention.
Maybe Snapchat's latest innovation will inspire an AR revival of the #floorislava meme? Snapchat's shareholders would probably not be crazy about that kind of virtual natural disaster.