Amazon Integrates ‘Augmented Reality’ for Faster Buying

Can Amazon induce you to buy even faster? The company is trying its best with the integration of an EUaugmented realityEU function into its main shopping app to make buying as simple as possible.

The company has told news media that it would like to shoppers to become actual customers within two seconds or less, as opposed to the previous, relatively leisurely 30-second window of time it took them to make purchases. To shorten that window, the company has now added its Flow app to the main Amazon app. The Flow app, introduced in 2011 as EUaugmented realityEU software, allows a user to scan an item in a store through a smartphone camera, and Amazon will find that item in its huge inventory.

This image recognition function is different from the older-fashioned way of scanning the barcode or even the ancient way of typing the name of the item into the search field. If the image recognizer doesnEUt recognize the item, a user can still scan the barcode or type in the name. Books, video games, CDs and DVDs are among the products that reportedly work best with Flow, apparently because the packaging pattern helps the recognizer. Items can also be scanned one after another, each one saved into search history.

Garbage Bags, Baby Wipes

Flow Powered by Amazon was launched in November of 2011 by A9.com, an Amazon subsidiary. Because the original Flow was separate from the main app, users of the original version would have to find the item, take a photo and then separately make the purchase using the main Amazon app.

The newly integrated Flow, currently available for only the iOS Amazon app, allows a user to scan and then immediately buy. Flow is still available as a separate app on iTunes or in the Google Play store. The...

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