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Amazon’s New iPhone App Updates Uses Text Recognition to Help You Buy Real-World Products

flowAmazon’s insatiable desire to keep selling things knows no bounds – the web store is now bringing its selling service to your real world objects using image recognition technology. If you can scan it with Flow, you can buy it through Amazon:

Flow uses both barcode and image recognition to continuously recognize tens of millions of products in a live camera view, with seamless transition between product packaging and barcodes. Users point to an item and Flow overlays pricing, availability, reviews, media content and other information directly over the item in view.

Amazon currently has two apps that uses image recognition, one for shoes, called Fabulous, and Flow, which feels less shoe-oriented and less fabulous.  The latest update to Flow adds text scanning capabilites to help the app recognize more products, more accurately. Both apps uses Amazon’s image search AI capabilities:

  • Image Matching algorithms enable the exact identification of objects and drive the functionality in mobile apps like A9’s Flow, as well as Amazon Mobile. It also supports Amazon’s Universal Wish List feature.
  • Image classification powers the shape picker and color picker on Amazon’s apparel sites.
  • Visual similarity underpins the “View Visually Similar Items” feature in Watches, Handbags and Shoes on Amazon.com.
  • OCR, text recognition, geospatial recognition extends our visual recognition capabilities for the world of objects around us.
  • Robust distributed computing infrastructure, built on the latest cloud computing services from Amazon, including EC2, S3, enables the scale and efficiency of our solutions.


The new app is available for iPhone as well as Android. Coupled with drone deliveries, this might be the most tech savvy way to shop without using Occulus Rift. If you like Pinterest, LoveList offers a similar feature by allowing you to scan and add real world products to your boards.

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