New apps help shoppers identify items using image recognition

Mon Aug 26, 2013 3:59am EDT
 
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By Natasha Baker

TORONTO Aug 26 (Reuters) - A new app lets shoppers flipping through retail flyers purchase items that catch their eye using image recognition technology.

The iOS app Pounce allows shoppers to scan images they spot in print media with their device's camera, then purchase the item online directly from the retailer running the advertisement.

"We are able to match an image with an actual product available online," said Avital Yachin, chief executive of BuyCode, Inc, the Tel Aviv, Israel-based company that developed the app, one of a growing number of apps using image recognition to bridge the physical and online worlds of e-commerce.

"Our vision is to allow purchasing of any product in any print ad," he said, adding that the company plans to expand to catalogs, magazines and billboards.

The Pounce app recognizes products that its retailing partners, which include Staples Inc, Target Corp , Toys "R" Us Inc and Ace Hardware Corp , sell online.

After scanning an image, the app displays the item's price and shipping cost, then allows shoppers to make the purchase directly from the retailer.

Other companies such as eBay and Amazon have apps that use image recognition to identify objects such as books, cars and even clothing to help shoppers find similar items in their online marketplaces.

"The potential of image recognition lies in its ability to determine the make and model of any item in the world, especially those that consumers are otherwise unable to identify," said Steve Yankovich, the VP of Innovation and New Ventures at eBay Inc.   Continued...