Well, it looks like our earlier hopes that Amazon Flow would be an all-in-one Amazon media app are dashed. Instead, Amazon subsidiary A9 has announced that Flow is an augmented reality shopping app that uses Amazon’s product database.
To use the app, you point it at a book, video game, movie or other product and the app will recognize the product and give you information, media and reviews about it.
The release mentions that the product must have a UPC, but the app looks like it will also do product recognition by a visual, so it appears that a barcode is just for verification or cataloguing purposes.
To use the app, you just point it at an object and wait. If the engine recognizes the product based on a series of visual cues, it will pop up a link to purchase it from Amazon and give you user ratings. You can click through to the product details from there.
We tried it on a few products and anything well branded appears to work just fine, although unlabeled or semi-generic items were tougher.
Bill Stasior, President of A9, says that the integration of the live camera with visual recognition tech is intended to create “a seamless experience for a customer looking to discover information about objects in their physical surroundings.”
The Flow app should be available on the App Store soon if you absolutely must get your augmented reality shopping on.