Amazon has released its own twist on Google Goggles — an augmented reality iPhone app that recognizes objects your phone sees and then gives you the option to buy them.
The Flow Powered by Amazon app, developed by Amazon unit A9, claims to recognize tens of millions of products from books and DVDs to packaged electronics to toys.
We tried the app, and while it didn’t recognize everything, it was able to work as advertised in a couple of cases. (Amazon suggests pointing the app to a bar code on the product if it doesn’t recognize it.)
Amazon’s use of the iPhone camera to recognize and classify objects was preceded by Google, which released Google Goggles, a similar technology, for Android in December 2009 and for the iPhone last October.
So far, although some marketers, like HTC and Disney, among others have used Google Goggles for ad campaigns, Google hasn’t yet focused the app on e-commerce.
Identifying and buying products is, it seems, only the beginning of augmented reality apps. Earlier this year, German appliance maker Bosch released an iPad app in August that lets consumers design their kitchen by photographing Bosch products they see in stores.