Snap Inc. Have Been Quietly Developing a Drone
First video sunglasses, then drones, and then presumably the world. Reports have surfaced that Snapchat's parent company, Snap Inc., have been working on a design for a drone. The details are still largely confidential (and the sources remain anonymous), but even the news that this is something they're working on is pretty telling.

Snap made to jump to marketing physical products last year when they unveiled the Spectacles - a pair of sunglasses with built-in cameras, and it seems like that was far from a one-off promotional stunt. Snap don't regard themselves as a social media company in the way that Facebook does, Snapchat is one part of a wider plan to develop Snap into a hyper-modern camera company.

That's probably part of the reason Snapchat continues to be so successful - it's being run by a company with a fixed goal, rather than a company that seems set on monopolising the very concept of innovation. If Snap are developing a drone, chances are it will be some kind of photography aid, or it might be meant for video streaming.

Of course, there's also a chance that this isn't a consumer product at all, that Snap are developing a device to use for broadcasting or some similar enterprise. Drone footage was used in the Snapchat Story on the battle of Mosul. It's far more likely that this is a consumer item, but with only the bare minimum of information freely available, nothing is certain.

What is certain is that Snapchat's IPO is out this week, so this news may have been leaked deliberately to give traders a little bit more insight into what the company are planning. This isn't the first time Snap have been linked to drones, they were in talks to acquire Lily Robotics, who are themselves developing a drone which follows you around taking photos at intervals. The idea that they're building their own will be a lot more attractive to investors though.

Interestingly enough, Facebook are making inroads with their drone project at the moment too. Their drones, which are hulking, solar powered internet nodes, have been public knowledge for a while, but now, after the first test flight resulted in a big steaming hole in the Arizona desert, they're ready to try again. They're now planning on flying them a few times every month, gradually fine-tuning the design as they go. Once finished, these things will be staying in the air for months at a time.

Snap probably aren't doing anything quite so ambitious, but some form of photography/video drone for personal use is certainly a much more bankable undertaking than huge flying routers. It may be that Snap decide to release more information once the IPO is done with, but whatever the case, it's certainly exciting.

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