Research Outline

Augmented Reality Experience Analysis


To inform the client's decision to build or buy Augmented Reality (AR) technologies for their product roadmap.
  • Provide the AR tech stack for the following companies
    • Snap (Snapchat)
    • Instagram
    • Tiktok
    • Youcam
  • What technologies are the above AR apps built upon?
  • Determine if there is a standard file format for rendering face/body-tracking AR effects across iOS and Android platforms.
  • Determine what needs to be built on the following platforms to view face and body-tracking AR effects for native iOS/Android apps
    • ARKit
    • ARCore
    • AR Foundation
  • Determine if there is an open-sourced platform that offers:
    • An SDK to view AR effects
    • The tools that can allow non-technical creators to build and publish AR effects to an app
  • Determine if it is possible to use arexport (SparkAR files) in a non-Instagram/Facebook app. If yes, what are the technical requirements?

Early Findings

Initial research shows that AR tech stacks of apps such as Snap, Instagram, and others, are not publicly available. These technologies and platforms are proprietary and internal, this is the most likely reason for their public unavailability. Snapchat only makes its tools available to be used as a service, such as Lens Studio. However, we were able to find the generic technologies/platforms on which the entire platforms are built.

Snapchat's Tech Stack

  • Snapchat is built on the following technologies and platforms
  • Application and Data:
    • jQuery
    • React
    • NGINX
    • Java
    • Bootsrap
    • Ubuntu
    • AngularJS
    • Amazon S3
    • Modernizr
    • Android SDK
    • Amazon CloudFront
    • Google Cloud Platform
    • Google Compute Engine
    • Objective-C
    • Google App Engine
    • Lodash
    • Moment.js
    • Semantic UI
    • Cocoa Touch (iOS)
    • Immutable.js
  • Utilities:
    • Google Analytics
    • Google Tag Manager
    • Google Maps
    • Twilio SendGrid
    • Gatsby
  • Business Tools:
    • Gmail
    • Gsuite
    • Zendesk
    • Tumblr

Stnadard File Formats for AR Effects

  • The gITF format is a 3D file format adopted by Google as a proffered format for AR on Android's Scene Viewer. It is maintained by the Khronos Group.
  • The USDZ format is a 3D format adopted by Apple as the format for AR applications on iOS AR Quick Look. It was developed by Pixar.


  • Findings from the firm hour of research indicate that the AR tech stack of apps such as Snapchat, Instagram and others are not publicly available, most likely due to privacy concerns, as they are proprietary technologies. However, Snapchat, Instagram and others offer Software as a Service (SaaS) tools for creating AR experiences.
  • gITF is a 3D format adopted by Google as a preferred format for AR on Android Scene Viewer. The USDZ format is adopted by Apple for AR applications on AR Quick Look.
  • Further research hours are required to provide the remainder of the requested details. Please select the most appropriate research options below to move forward.