Amazon subsidiary A9.com has just launched a new augmented reality iPhone app—Flow Powered by Amazon. Flow uses augmented reality to help users explore and discover tens of millions of products in a real world setting, including books, DVDs, packaged electronics and toys, to give shoppers interactive product information about these items in the real world.
Here’s how it works. Once downloaded, you can point the app toward a book, video game, CD, DVD or other product with a UPC barcode. When the app recognized the product, it will display the Amazon.com product information, including the option to play multimedia content and read customer reviews.
For some products, you’ll be able to see trailers and other media previews in the app. Flow will also save all of the history of the items scanned.
“This is our first step towards integrating product search technology with augmented reality,” said Bill Stasior, president of A9.com. “The integration of a live camera display, graphical overlays, and visual recognition technology creates a seamless experience for a customer looking to discover information about objects in their physical surroundings.”
Of course, Amazon is timing the release of this app right as the holiday shopping season kicks off. Clearly, anyone can use this app to scan and see the availability and price of an item at a brick and mortar store, and then potentially go by the item online. eBay offers a similar app (though without Augmented Reality) via its RedLaser technology.