Along with announcing the long-rumored Fire smartphone, Amazon also announced the release of a new digital service that lets users scan real-world information to identify products
FireFly can identify up to 100 million products by scanning images like books, TV and art, and even pieces of information phone numbers, UPCs, bar codes. Scans also can pick up on sound, to identify songs or entertainment by audio signature. The service uses Flow OCR technology, meaning it can also integrate with other apps that use similar information to more accurately identify information and grow the database over time.
The vision is two-fold. In the short-term, scans will link to product pages on Amazon.com and to media available on its digital stores. But the long-term vision is to incorporate scanning behavior into everyday life. Scans of food can yield nutritional facts or ingredients. And the Amazon SDK will allow third-party apps to leverage scanning technology to match user’s preferences to recommend products scanned, like the label of a wine bottle, to take the guesswork out of purchases.
Why It’s Hot
FireFly is a first major step forward in the use of personal technology and big data to augment how we interact with the real world. By creating an SDK that learns from users tastes and preferences, Amazon is hoping to lock in users by providing service that extends beyond eCommerce. Products like Google Glass, however, demonstrate that we have the capability to integrate similar services more naturally into everyday life. Will the scan remain a direct action or become an automatic process that happens behind the scenes, without a user even thinking (or wanting) that action?