Amazon iPhone App Uses Crowdsourcing for Product IDs

Amazon’s new iPhone application has an experimental feature, dubbed Amazon Remembers, that blends product discovery and crowdsourcing. From the New York Times Bits blog:

The tool lets users take a photograph of any product they see in the real world. The photos are then uploaded to Amazon and turned over to the far-flung freelance workers in Amazon’s Mechanical Turk program, who will try to match them with products for sale on The results will not be instantaneous (between 5 minutes and 24 hours, the company says), but the idea is to entice consumers to buy products from Amazon instead of its offline rivals.

Human-generated Mechanical Turk results can be a wildcard — and the lack of instant gratification is a disadvantage — but this method could theoretically expand mobile product apps beyond text messages and barcode readers.

(Via Paul Miller’s Twitter stream)

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