Game changing is a term used too often - and sometimes in the media we think something will bring about big change when in fact it doesn't. No one has any way to know for sure when an idea is going to change paradigms but I have been experimenting with software for the iPhone which really has the potential to change the way we interact with our environment.
SnapTell Explorer is a free application which allows you to take a picture of the cover of a CD, DVD or book and in about 30 seconds or less, looks up the item in a database, presents you with a summary and allows you to search for it online and even buy it on Amazon.
In tests, the software was very good. I tested it in stores and in the libraries of friends and relatives. Approximately 85-90% of books I scanned were accurately identified.
On the downside, children's book Dots n Dashes was misidentified repeatedly and The Everything Jewish Wedding book was misidentified as The Everything TV Crosswords and Everything Calorie Mini-Book. All these books are published by Adams Media and the images of all three books are similar - which is likely the reason for the confusion.
- Complete Idiot's Guide to Dealing With Difficult Employees
- Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding (the cover was sun-damaged and still recognizable)
- Guts: the Seven Laws of Business That Made Chrysler The World's Hottest Car Company
- How To Grill: The Complete Illustrated Book of Barbecue Techniques, A Barbecue Bible! Cookbook
- Disney Mickey Mouse Clubhouse
- Clifford makes a Friend
- Hug Your People
- Something Borrowed
I tested 10 DVDs and all ten were found accurately. It was quite stunning really.
The potential for the software is tremendous as it allows the rapid finding of media content which can be instantly turned into an order from major web retailers. What else could the software do? It could theoretically take a picture of anything and find it online.
On a side note, this software allowed me to instantly see a summary of books and discuss them -- allowing me to seem better-read than I actually am.
Certainly this solution could be used in stores to get instant prices on anything you see.
The company behind the software, SnapTell Inc. also has solutions which helps marketers by allowing ads in magazines to be photographed and sent to companies in exchange for coupons, ringtones and other interesting items.