PITTSBURGH (CBS) — Shopping in a store or even online could soon be a thing of the past.
Imagine being able to buy whatever you want simply by taking a picture of it from a magazine or ad.
It’s the latest trend in shopping and it’s never been easier; apps now let you buy items with a simple click of the camera.
“A lot of times, I’ll see things in a magazine or an ad so I’ll go and try to look that up and it can be kind of difficult to find,” shopper Sandra Bohlken said.
Here’s how it works: you first download the app, look for a certain icon on the ad, take a picture of what you’re interested in and you’re able to buy anything in the ad right on the spot.
Bohlken tried out the Target app.
“It takes a picture of the entire ad so then I have an option of all the different things in the ad,” she said.
Target officials say it’s just one way they’re using technology to lure tech-savvy shoppers.
“I think clearly, technology is changing the way we shop. Whether it’s image recognition, visual search, augmented reality, these are all things we’re testing,” Target Spokesperson Eddie Baeb said.
It’s not just Target, though. At Heels.com, you can input an image of must-have shoes and a visual search tool will find the product or bring up lookalikes.
Apple has the CamFind app, which recognizes and describes items.
Google has its Goggles app, which Amy Curtis uses in a variety of ways.
“I use it to compare prices, I use it to search the Internet for pictures and art,” she said.
There are limitations: sometimes the recognition tool can’t identify the image and privacy experts warn that your location can be tracked through the images you click.
“Where it starts to become a problem is when you take pictures of human faces or when the metadata starts to allow surveillance technology to associate people, places and time,” attorney David Straite said.
But buyer beware, once you click over to a company site for purchase, you then fall under website privacy rules, where more information may potentially be collected and shared.
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