Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Experiment - Amazon Remembers



Amazon remembers is an innovative and incredibly fast product image recognition service by Amazon currently available only on iPhone. I'm totally blown away by it.

How it works
Go to Amazon app on iPhone, Remembers Section, Click a picture with your iPhone, Send it to Amazon. Amazon will respond with a either an exact item or a matching one. All this right from within the app. You can view the results on your iPhone app or on your Amazon homepage.

I tried this service with following 5 items and within a minute or two I had Amazon respond with the exact item link in 3 out of 5 cases. One was a close match and the other a disaster.

1) On left above is the smoothie cup from my cafeteria for which Amazon found the adjoining matchin cup.


2) Picture of a poster. Amazon found it instantly but it had taken me over an hour.




3) I sent a valid bar code. Instead of the item Amazon found me this book on bar codes.




4) When I sent the cover of book whose bar code I had used in #3 above. Amazon promptly found it.




5) Finding a toy was easy too. This search took Amazon a little longer. Although it 's not an exact match but it's pretty close.



Overall, Amazon Remembers is a lot of fun and really useful in finding items which are difficult to describe. And hey it's someone else doing the work for you.

7 comments:

Alex Kane said...

In most cases it appears that they're using their own Mechanical Turk service to do the lookups.

Ruchi said...

@Alex
I received results in less than 2 minutes for most of the searches. I doubt that it is being done by Mechanical Turks.

fletch said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
fletch said...

No, it's Turk. They'll pay you $0.10/HIT to find other people's products right here.

Plus, the Remembers screen in the iPhone app says they "...use a community of real people to research..."

Ruchi said...

@fletch
Thanks for that information. I agree for some of the searches Mturks are being used. But they are in addition to the software Amazon is using. Here Amazon says "For fun, we'll also use a community of real people to find product matches on Amazon.com."

fletch said...

this is the full quote:

"After you send us a photo, we'll store it on your Amazon Remembers list (similar to your Wish List) in the app and in your Lists at Amazon.com. For fun, we'll also use a community of real people to find product matches on Amazon.com."

It's long-winded, but it says that they'll store your photo, and "also" use mturk to identify the product. The "real people" bit is the only mention of finding the product.

Yes, this happens quickly. But it pays relatively well by MTurk standards, and the job queue is empty.

Anonymous said...

You actually thought this was done via an algorithm rather than a real person?