Google's partnership with Snapchat will "propel the Pixel 6" to success, experts say, adding that not only will it entice younger users to the new line of phones, but it will help Google shape its augmented reality strategy.
The new Pixel 6 lineup will allow users to share photos to Snapchat with two taps, using the feature "Quick Tap to Snap." This will allow users to tap the back of their phone to open the Snapchat camera directly from the lock screen. It's worth noting that Quick Tap was previously announced with Android 12 and lets users set the feature to do different actions like take a screenshot or open a select app. This partnership with a third-party, however, is new, Google says.
The new phones, which are some of the best Android phones, are now available to the public.
During Google's announcement last week, Snap's CEO Evan Spiegel said, "for Snapchatters, speed matters."
"Billions of Snaps are created every day, and our community wants to be ready to Snap everyday moments, as they happen," he said.
The partnership will also have extra augmented-reality lenses, which will integrate some Google features like live translation.
Anshel Sag, senior analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy, says in an interview that the partnership will be the biggest reason why many people will be excited about Google's new phones and will be the reason for why it will see success.
"It might be the biggest thing that might propel the Pixel 6 to success," he says. "Being able to capture and post so quickly is a big reason why so many Snapchat users use the iPhone, But I think that Snapchat is smart to do what they can to diversify their user base away from being so Apple dominant. Additionally, I could see Google giving Snapchat more access to their phones as they are hungrier to grow the userbase."
There are over 280 million people using Snapchat daily, and 38% are located in the U.S., according to the Business of Apps. It adds that the company generated $2.5 billion in revenue in 2020, a 47% year-over-year increase, and the company's stock increased by over 350% from 2020 to 2021.
Sag notes that the announcement was surprising but that "Google is smart to partner with Snap on Snapchat integration, and I'm curious to see where this partnership may go in the future."
On Twitter, Sag notes that the feature didn't initially work for him in the first few days of testing it out, but then it started working later. He says in his tweet that Google should work on the reliability of Quick Tap, but overall the experience was really good to the extent that it might even bring users back to using Snapchat more.
"Speaking of @Snap, the #Pixel6 is the first time I have EVER enjoyed using @Snapchat on #Android. Not just that, but it actually feels like a first-class experience and image quality is impeccable as is video and zooming. Overall, makes me want to use it a LOT more," he writes.
8. Speaking of @Snap, the #Pixel6 is the first time I have EVER enjoyed using @Snapchat on #Android. Not just that, but it actually feels like a first-class experience and image quality is impeccable as is video and zooming. Overall, makes me want to use it a LOT more.8. Speaking of @Snap, the #Pixel6 is the first time I have EVER enjoyed using @Snapchat on #Android. Not just that, but it actually feels like a first-class experience and image quality is impeccable as is video and zooming. Overall, makes me want to use it a LOT more.— Anshel Sag (@anshelsag) October 25, 2021October 25, 2021
Jitesh Ubrani, IDC's research manager of worldwide device trackers, agrees with Sag, noting that not only is this partnership smart but that the crowd that it will drive-in is the young audience that Google needs.
"It's a good move from a marketing perspective as many young consumers will hopefully be exposed to the Pixel brand through Snap's marketing," he says.
Mishaal Rahman, senior technical editor at Esper and former editor-in-chief of XDA Developers, notes in an interview that it's a great marketing strategy, especially if Google wants to get on the same level as Samsung and Apple.
"If Google is indeed serious about competing directly with Samsung and Apple, then targeting younger users who are found in droves on Snapchat is a worthwhile strategy to pursue," he says. "How effective it'll actually be, remains to be seen."
Google wants to focus on AR and this is the right move to do so
Sag says that the partnership is especially smart by Google as the company paves its way further into AR.
"[Snapchat] is technically the only ones actually shipping AR glasses," he says, adding that Snapchat has been thriving in the last year or two with some of its partnerships to expand the use of its AR.
"Everything I have seen out of Snapchat in the last year points towards the company really having a clear vision for the future and how crucial AR and AI will be to enabling that vision," he says.
The company partnered with dating app Bumble so its users can send video notes with matches using Snapchat AR products. Snap has also partnered with Walt Disney to let tourists at Walt Disney World utilize Snap AR experiences in their visits and photos.
"I think it will be positive for Snapchat because they can diversify their user base and attach themselves to a pretty interesting product line with the Pixel 6 and enable new features that they can't do on platforms like the iPhone," he says.
There's a reason why Google didn't partner with Facebook
Sag adds that because Google wants to get deeper into AR, it is likely they didn't partner with Facebook or Facebook's Instagram because of competition.
"Instagram is far too entwined with Facebook, and frankly, Instagram is losing popularity, much like Facebook. Snapchat and TikTok are both growing in popularity, and that's where the majority of new and interesting content is today," he says. "While I do think that TikTok would be a good partner, if Google wants to grow its influence in AR, they would be best to partner with Snap."
Facebook is also in a lot of hot water embroiled in a mix of different controversies that have brought the company's reputation down.
Rahman notes that Google is likely aware of this but it's probably not why Google didn't partner with Facebook.
"I'm certain that marketing executives/the marketing team at Pixel discussed the optics of partnering with Instagram/Facebook, but I don't believe the current controversy dissuaded them from pursuing a joint announcement/partnership," he says. "We don't know how far, if at all, discussions went between the two companies."
Sag agrees that it was less about Facebook's current reputation circling back on the fact that Facebook is more of a competitor.
Facebook is expected to make some big changes on October 28 with respect to plans to get deeper into AR and VR. CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been hyping up the metaverse lately, trying to pull investors into his vision for the future of connectivity with one another and interactivity with the real world. The company also partnered with Ray-Ban to bring a pair of connected smart glasses.
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Shruti Shekar is Android Central's managing editor. She was born in India, brought up in Singapore, but now lives in Toronto and couldn't be happier. She started her journalism career as a political reporter in Ottawa, Canada's capital, and then made her foray into tech journalism at MobileSyrup and most recently at Yahoo Finance Canada. When work isn't on her mind, she loves working out, reading thrillers, watching the Raptors, and planning what she's going to eat the next day.