Wouldn’t it be nice to just look at the stuff you want to buy and take a picture of it and click buy? Well, Amazon’s recently released app for the Apple iPhone can let you do that. The big news is that it will let you do that in as little as 2 seconds. Think about it, 2 seconds. All you needed to do is just open your camera, position it on the product that you’re thinking of buying and the app would interface with Amazon’s database and present you with a button you can click to buy that product. To many fans of augmented reality, this is a dream come true. To many fans of the next stage of e-commerce, this is the end stage of a very mobile phone of online commerce. The reality is that the idea may seem awesome on paper.
However, if you think about it hard enough there’s still a lot of heavy lifting left to be done, in particular, the issue of a shopping cart. People don’t just buy like one cup of coffee or a can of oatmeal. They buy in context. In other others, if I’m going to a store, I’m going to be buying things that would help me cook a recipe I would be buying things that would fit in a shopping basket. While the whole idea of an ecommerce window may seem like a great idea, there are still a lot of kinks to work out. This idea is by all means not perfect. Still, it’s a step in the right direction. Why? It really pushes augmented reality to where it should go. Augmented reality is about taking signals from the real world like taking images, sounds, light and using it in conjunction with Internet data to process things that you need done. So, if you’re looking for a date, you could use augmented reality to find a local date. If you’re looking to make stuff, like carpentry projects or woodworking projects, augmented reality can make you do that. Well, it looks like Amazon’s Flow mobile app takes a good step towards using augmented reality for buying purposes. It is by all means not perfect. Expect it to evolve several product cycles further for it to become truly practical.