Snapchat may be looking to bring more useful applications to its photo filters with more advanced object recognition that will be capable of identifying real-word elements and overlaying them with augmented reality (AR) animations. The company is reported to be testing the new version of its World Lenses feature using an internal version of Snapchat.

According to a report from the Information (via Engadget), Snap Inc is interested in how the new feature could bring advertising opportunities to the company. Using a phone's camera, World Lenses would be able to identify branded objects in the frame and then display an augmented reality advertisement or promotion for the product.

Tapping the feature's branding potential makes sense for the $25bn Snap Inc: the company has funnelled millions into developing its augmented reality app, expanding its operations and launching new products, but is yet to turn a profit.

Given Snapchat's 150 million daily active users, branded filters would be a highly lucrative way for the company to pull in much-needed ad dollars, as well as make it look more appealing for its upcoming IPO.

A preliminary version of World Lenses was introduced in 2016, which used the phone's rear-facing camera to apply AR effects like snowflakes, hearts and rainbow-spewing clouds into a Snapchat Story.

More recently, the company launched a handful of football-themed Lenses in association with some of Europe's top clubs.