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Amazon Flow strikes low blow to brick and mortar, converts barcode scans to online sales

Remember when you had to "walk" to a "store" to buy things? Our grandkids are gonna weep uncontrollably when we explain queuing up at Our Price to buy VHS tapes. We'll recall the date the final nail was driven into brick and mortar's coffin: November 2nd, 2011 -- the day Amazon's A9 released Flow free on the App store. With Flow, you just walked into a store, scan the barcode of a book, DVD or jar of Nutella and it came back with Amazon's price, reviews and "multimedia content". It wasn't the first app to do the job, but we just couldn't help ourselves indulging in another. It wasn't long before the store detectives cottoned on to all the barcode snapping and started issuing automatic take-down tackles if they saw you holding a phone. After that, of course, war was inevitable. (But hey, it was worth it.)

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Flow Powered by Amazon App, Now Available for the iPhone

New augmented reality app uses both barcode and image recognition to continuously recognize tens of millions of products in a live camera view

PALO ALTO, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE), Inc., a subsidiary of, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) today announced a new iPhone app: Flow Powered by Amazon. Flow is a new augmented reality app that makes it easy to explore and discover tens of millions of products in a real world setting – from books and DVDs to packaged electronics and toys – and offers shoppers interactive product information about the items around them.

With Flow, customers simply point their iPhone toward a book, video game, CD, DVD or millions of other products with UPC barcodes. Upon visual recognition of the product, the app displays product information, including the option to play multimedia content and read customer reviews.

"This is our first step towards integrating product search technology with augmented reality," said Bill Stasior, president of "The integration of a live camera display, graphical overlays, and visual recognition technology creates a seamless experience for a customer looking to discover information about objects in their physical surroundings."

Flow uses continuous scan technology developed by's visual search team to identify products and provide related information found on The app displays Amazon's popular shopping features such as product details, customer reviews and ratings, as well as sharing options via Twitter, Facebook, or email.

Flow Powered by Amazon is available as a free download from the Apple App Store at To learn more, visit