December 4, 2008, 12:00 AM

Amazon.com lets iPhone users search its site by taking a picture

The e-retailer has unveiled an iPhone application that not only recreates the e-commerce experience but also boasts experimental technology that allows shoppers to search the site by snapping a picture with the mobile device.

Katie Evans

Managing Editor, International Research

The old saying goes, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” In the case of Amazon.com Inc.’s new mobile site search technology, a picture is worth a thousand keywords.

The technology is an experimental feature wrapped into the e-retailer’s new iPhone downloadable mobile application. The free application, available through Apple’s App Store, recreates the Amazon.com e-commerce site experience in a way tailored to fit the screen of an iPhone or iPod touch and exploit the computing capabilities of the device.

The new site search technology is dubbed Amazon Remembers. While using the Amazon.com application, a shopper takes a picture of a product using an iPhone. The application automatically uploads it to Amazon.com, which searches its vast library of product pictures looking for similar products. The application displays search results, and the shopper can choose to purchase an item or save it within her Amazon.com account to remember it for later.

“We designed the Amazon app to be a quick and easy way for iPhone and iPod touch users to shop, browse and buy with Amazon.com,” says Sam Hall, director of Amazon Mobile. “We’re also really excited about Amazon Remembers because it’s a fun and useful way to use the iPhone camera to find and remember items while on the go.”

Amazon.com is No. 1 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.

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