Amazon just keeps making it easier for you to buy everything on the web. If the company continues to have its way, you’ll never need to go to the store again.
Today, Amazon is announcing a new feature inside its mobile shopping app that lets you scan items in your home using your smartphone’s camera and quickly order all of your packaged goods online. The new feature, called Flow, will be available inside Amazon’s shopping app for iOS. It’s iPhone-only for now, and the company isn’t saying when it will arrive on other smartphone platforms, or on the Kindle Fire.
Instead of taking a photo of an item or scanning a barcode, Flow recognizes items via their shape, size, color, box text, and general appearance. Hold your iPhone up to a row of items on your shelf or counter, and within seconds of “seeing” it with the iPhone’s camera, every recognizable item is placed in queue that can be added to your Amazon cart.
As you scan, tiny sparkling blue stars appear over the items, like tiny Tinkerbells helping you empty your bank account. According to Amazon, the twinkling lights were added as a visual indicator that the Flow feature is working — they show up as the app is determining what’s being scanned via a query to Amazon’s database. The results are shot back to your phone, and you’re presented with the successfully scanned products in your queue.
All of this happens in seconds. Speed is important , our short attention spans have zero patience for a slow feature, and if you leave the app, that’s a potential lost sale for Amazon.