First off, no, you cannot take a photo of Ryan Gosling and expect Amazon to ship you your favorite swoon-worthy celeb. Same goes for cute puppies, original artwork, or a roasted mozzarella ball stuffed with truffled ricotta (this is a real thing). But, you can totally take a photo of hot sauce, cereal, or any other traditionally manufactured product and have it added to your Amazon Shopping Cart. It’s like Shazam for shopping!
Dubbed Amazon Flow, this new feature lives inside Amazon’s mobile shopping app and lets you scan items in your phone (or in the wild) using your smartphone’s camera. Once scanned and identified, add whatever quantity you like to your cart and in a day or two, it’ll arrive at your door. (image via WIRED)
Instead of scanning a barcode or QR code, Flow identifies the product based on shape, size, color, text, and any other distinct aesthetic characteristics. As you scan, tiny blue stars appear over the items to signify successful scanning. According to a test drive by folks at The Verge, they found Flow to work great for scanning things like cereal boxes, a bag of potato chips, and other clearly labeled packaged goods. Other things, not so much. In fact, a Kindle Paperwhite was scanned and identified as a white Kindle case :(
For us, what’s cool about this is the fact that the camera on your phone can be utilized to identify things that you see. If you could point your phone at a certain tree, flower, or animal and get information on what that tree, flower, or animal is, that would seriously rule. The possibilities for this type of technology stretch way beyond re-upping your Sriracha inventory.
Interestingly, this feature is only available on iPhone as of now. No news on when to expect this on Android or Windows devices, or on the Kindle Fire.
Would you use Flow to restock your pantry or fridge? What about for holiday shopping? Talk to us in the comments below.