An iphone application that I downloaded but haven’t used was the Amazon.com app. I recently opened it up and took a look at it. I was especially interested in the Amazon Remembers feature. You take pictures, using your iphone, of things you would like to remember, through the application. And if Amazon offers a similar product, they will let you know.
One of the things I like to do when I test applications or services is to do things with them that the developers did not intend. So in this case, I took a photo of my son Peter. He is not someone I would soon forget, but I would like to remember him, nevertheless.
Soon after uploading the photo, Amazon sent me an email with a link for a boys size basketball t-shirt. The results also show up in the application. I was pretty impressed. I did not pay attention to the shirt he had on, but it was a basketball related shirt. My first question was how did they know to recommend a boys size? How could they tell he was a boy?
After I received the email, I read more about the service and discovered that a community of real people review the photos and make recommendations from Amazon’s products. Now it made perfect sense how they knew to send a boys sized shirt.
One problem I have with the service relates to what the application does with the photos. The photos are not saved to my iphone photo album. It only lives in the Amazon application and on the Amazon website. As someone who obsessively keeps all my photos, especially ones of my kids, I have no way to access this photo. Other applications, like Brightkite, save photos to my iphone album as well uploading it to the places I indicated.
The other problem I have would actually improve the accuracy of the recommendations. There is no way to tag a photo or note what item you are interested in. This would not have helped in my example, because there is no telling what the response would have been if I tagged my photo 11 year old boy. That is not part of Amazon’s current product offerings.
Even with these shortcomings, this is a great way for Amazon to continue to chip away at brick and mortar businesses. If the email comes quickly enough, as others have in further tests, this is a way for consumers to price shop on things they don’t need immediately. Snap a photo in the store and know Amazon’s price before you leave the aisle. If you have used it on this free app, it’s worth a try.