Snapchat and Amazon team up to allow you to buy products by taking a photo of them

Snapchat has announced new functionality it’s calling Visual Search. This is a way for its users to search for products on Amazon from the Snapchat camera. It’s not a feature that will be immediately available to everyone, as there’ll be a slow roll out, but Snap is keen for everyone to know about it right away.

From the description, the use is as straightforward as you’d want it to be. Simply point your camera at a product or barcode, then press and hold on the camera screen to activate the feature. If everything lines up and the recognition works, an Amazon card will appear on-screen, delivering a link to the product on Amazon.

Given that rumours recently emerged of a new standalone shopping app, IG Shopping, being worked on by Instagram, the timing of this announcement seems like an attempt by Snap to get ahead of that potential launch. Perhaps, this time, Snapchat can steal a feature from Instagram, rather than it being the other way around.

It’s still too early to tell whether this approach by Snap will be successful. Teaming up with Amazon should put it in a strong position. The question is whether the existing audience is interested in this feature and also whether this feature is enough to attract new users to the platform.

If Snap is to really get social media users excited, then it’ll need to partner with a couple of major brands to spark the imagination and build awareness of this feature. If done right, it could go some way to reviving what was once an exceptionally creative social network.

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