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Snap, then shop? Snapchat’s camera will soon buy stuff from Amazon


Snapchat’s camera is good for more than puppy dog ears and augmented reality games. Soon, the social media platform will shop for you, too. On Monday, September 24, Snap Inc. announced the ability to shop on Amazon with your Snapchat camera. The feature is in early testing and will roll out slowly to more users, Snap says.

The feature is a hidden one without any changes to the icons displayed in the Snapchat camera. To search for a product, after pointing the camera at whatever that object is, tap and hold the object. An Amazon card pops up on the screen with the top link, including an option to see more results by leaving the Snapchat app and going directly to Amazon, using either the app (if it’s installed) or the website. Along with using object recognition to search for products, the feature will also search via barcode, Snap says.

Snap says the feature is a faster way to shop and the camera option is easy to use. The lack of a physical icon on the screen could make the tool one of Snapchat’s lesser-known features, like the option to Shazam a song from inside Snapchat that uses the same process of tapping and holding on the screen. On the flipside, the touch control also keeps the interface from looking too cluttered.

The feature was first discovered by an app researcher breaking down the code, but details at the time didn’t confirm Amazon as the retailer for finding those products.

Shopping by camera isn’t new — the Amazon app has a camera mode that will also search using object recognition and barcodes alongside “trying” a product using augmented reality. By integrating into the Snapchat app, avid Snapchatters can skip a step if they want to buy something they see while snapping photos for Stories or Snapchatting friends.

Visual shopping is becoming increasingly available across multiple platforms, including Pinterest Lens and Google Lens. The tools can help when searching for a jacket won’t do — you want to find that particular jacket in a certain style and color. Besides fashion, other artificial intelligence-powered visual shopping searches can dig up home decor, books, and more.

The Amazon visual search isn’t Snapchat’s first dive into integrating shopping on the social network either; Snapchat also has shoppable AR filters and Stickers. The feature, for now, is only a test and Snap didn’t clarify when that slow rollout will happen.

Hillary K. Grigonis
Hillary never planned on becoming a photographer—and then she was handed a camera at her first writing job and she's been…
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