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I See You. I Want You.

December 15, 2008  

Just when you've mastered the whole key word concept, along comes—key pictures? Online retailer Amazon.com has released a free downloadable mobile application for the iPhone and iPod touch that enables shoppers to search for products to purchase online by simply snapping photos of them. If you like your co-worker's shoes, snap a shot. If you want that book, but wonder if Amazon has it cheaper, snap a shot.

A feature called Amazon Remembers will automatically upload that photo to Amazon.com, which then uses Mechanical Turks (freelancers around the world) to "search" for products pictured online similar to the one in the photo. Users can then purchase the items displayed in the results list, or "remember" them for later by saving them in their Amazon accounts.

The search process can take up to 24 hours, but bloggers who have tested the application have received results in as little as 5 minutes. And while other services like SnapTell will search pictures, Amazon boosts its effectiveness by having live people do the searching. The human element seems to be paying off.


Sam Hall, director of Amazon Mobile, sums up the service: "[With] Amazon Remembers … [shoppers] … can build visual lists of things they want to remember, buy, or … learn more about."

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