eBay's app will soon use image recognition to automate listing trading cards

The feature will first work with Magic: The Gathering cards.


Got a stack of Magic: The Gathering cards sitting somewhere in storage? With the game's "Modern" format, chances are you might be sitting on at least a couple of ones that could be worth selling. One of the most popular places to buy and sell trading cards online is eBay. What keeps most people parting with their collections is that it can be time-consuming to list every individual card. But eBay has a plan to speed up the process. In an announcement that flew under our radar until Gizmodo picked it up this morning, eBay said it's updating its Android and iOS app with image recognition capabilities.

Starting later this month with Magic: The Gathering, you'll be able to point your phone at a card, and the app will automatically auto-populate most of the listing for you. In May, the feature will work with Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh! cards and then other games and trading cards sometime later in the year.

eBay card listing

The company says you can list a card in about half the time it takes to put one up for sale on the website manually. You start by creating a listing and using the search bar to type the name of the game that the card comes from. At that point, the app will prompt you to "tap to search with your camera." When you point your phone's camera at the card, a list of possible matches will appear. What's nifty here is that the app will auto-populate the listing with details like the card's name, the set it comes from, its type, rarity and more. It's then up to you to add photos, describe its condition and finally decide on a price.

If you're not into buying and selling cards on eBay, a feature that can save people some time on listing their collections might not seem like much. But that's until you realize just how many cards are listed on eBay every day. In the last year, people made more than 41 million new card listings on the platform, with about 119 going up every minute. Once you add that up, that's a lot of time people can spend playing their favorite game instead of labourously inputting data.

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