Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Amazon Launches 'Amazon Remembers' on the iPhone

From the NYT. will join the iPhone frenzy on Wednesday with a new application available free for download through Apple’s App Store.

The software is relatively straightforward, offering a way for iPhone or iPod Touch owners to browse through all the products offered by, as well as by third-party retailers like Target and Macy’s that make their products available online through Amazon.

There is, however, one unusual and noteworthy aspect of the app called Amazon Remembers, which Amazon is calling “experimental.” 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.

Amazon Remembers is similar to other features Amazon has introduced this year in its ongoing effort to filch sales from other Web sites and retailers. TextBuyIt, a mobile messaging service introduced in April, lets people send a text message to Amazon at 262966 with the name of a product or a search term. It then replies with a number of buying options.

Another new feature that Amazon introduced this year, Universal Wish List, is a Web browser toolbar that lets people directly add the products they covet to their Amazon account when they see them on other Web sites.