Samsung's latest flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S8, has one surprising new feature—built-in visual search capabilities, courtesy of Amazon. The partnership represents the first time that Amazon's proprietary visual search technology has been used on a third party device, according to a press email.
What is visual search? It's almost exactly what it sounds like. Galaxy S8 users will be able to use the camera app to take a picture of an item or barcode, and then search for it among Amazon's catalog of products.
Aside from its novelty, the integration aims to improve product discovery for S8 users, the email said. The technology is built right into the devices, so users don't need to download anything in order to take advantage of it.
To try the visual search feature, start by opening the camera application on the Galaxy S8, and go into Bixby mode. For those unfamiliar, Bixby is the artificial intelligence (AI) assistant that Samsung developed for the Galaxy S8, that will compete with the likes of Cortana, Siri, and Google Assistant.
Once the camera is opened and in Bixby mode, aim the camera at an item or a barcode, and tap on the shopping cart icon that will appear under the image. The app should then pull results from Amazon's catalog, the email said, allowing users to see reviews and related products, or to purchase the item with a single tap.
Amazon began rolling out its visual search solution back in 2009, when it debuted the camera search functionality in the Amazon app. Using computer vision and deep learning techniques, the technology provided by Amazon can "recognize hundreds of millions of products within hundreds of categories," the email said.
The implementation of visual search in the Galaxy S8 follows Amazon's holiday work with Package X-Ray, a tool that allows users to see what is in a package before they open it. Another tool the company launched allows users to see how a TV would fit in their house if they bought it.
This also isn't the first time that Samsung and Amazon have partnered up. On April 20, 2017, the pair also announced that they would be working together to offer HDR10 Plus videos.
It's clear that the Galaxy S8 is one of the most hyped Android flagships released in 2017. In addition to niche features like visual search, the phone offers great battery life and a functional design, making it an enticing option for professional users.
The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers
- Amazon visual search will be integrated in the Samsung Galaxy S8, allowing users to search for items through the camera app, read reviews, and make a purchase.
- The visual search is a part of Bixby, the new AI assistant Samsung created to compete with Siri, Google Assistant, and others.
- The phone also offers some additional enticing features for professional users, such as a long battery life and a functional design.
- Samsung Galaxy S8: The professional review (TechRepublic)
- Should Amazon be your AI and machine learning platform? (ZDNet)
- Samsung announces Bixby, new AI assistant for Galaxy S8 (TechRepublic)
- Samsung, Amazon partner for HDR10 Plus (ZDNet)
- Review: Samsung Galaxy S8 makes every other phone feel like a cinder block (TechRepublic)
Conner Forrest has nothing to disclose. He doesn't hold investments in the technology companies he covers.
Conner Forrest is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He covers enterprise technology and is interested in the convergence of tech and culture.