Amazon has launched a free iPhone app in the UK that lets you search and buy from its entire store, with a couple of neat twists.
The most interesting feature is called Amazon Remembers. If you're in a shop -- Waterstone's, say -- and see a book you want to buy later from Amazon, you can use the app to take a photo of it. It's then uploaded to Amazon, automatically identified and a link to buy it within the app appears within a few seconds.
If it isn't immediately recognised, the picture is sent for further analysis -- a bunch of blokes look at it and try to find the same product on the Web site (we hate to think what kind of stuff they have to look at) -- then emailed to you. In our tests this took about 5 minutes.
Our faces: do they feature smiles?
It works well for the most part, but we wouldn't trust it too far. For example, we took a photo of the box of the brand-new. The app didn't recognise it, so the picture went away for further investigation. When our result came back, it was for an alright, but the old one that looks almost identical -- not the new one with Android on it.
The same happened with the new movie Obsessed, which just came out on DVD. Except we took a photo of the Blu-ray edition. If we bought the version Amazon Remembers suggested, we'd just get the pathetic old standard-definition DVD, not the glorious 1080p Blu-ray we saw on Ian's desk. And when our boss man Jason Jenkins took a photo of a Christmas tree, Amazon suggested he buy a giant wooden giraffe.
But on the plus side, when we took a photo of the album art for Cannibal Corpse's latest album Evisceration Plague in our iTunes library, the app immediately provided us a link to buy the correct CD.
So here's our advice: use Amazon Remembers... to remember. That's it. If you rely on it to provide a link to the exact version or edition of a product you want to buy later, there's no guarantee you'll get the one you wanted.
The app is available free from today. Here's a link to the iTunes Store page.