A new iPhone app is looking to answer the age-old shopper’s quandary: “Where can I get the best price for this product?” The SnapUp iPhone app, released last week, lets users upload a screenshot of a product page on an app or website, which is then organized into a shopping wishlist. The wishlist displays an image and details such as the price at various sellers, and will notify you when the price drops.

How it Works

This is by no means the first shopping app to hit the market, but CNET says that what separates it from the other shopper apps—and what has intrigued Facebook, StumbleUpon, Match.com, and Yahoo executives enough to have them invest $600,000 in the project—are the algorithms used to power it. “SnapUp uses technology called computer vision machine learning to mimic the way a human reads and processes information on a product page,” according to CNET. Essentially, this means that the app works by speeding up the natural search process and getting the results back quickly. The app works in the background, analyzing every screenshot you take to see if it is a product. If it determines it is, the SnapUp iPhone app will screen the internet for the product data and compile it into a wish list.

The Wish List and Utility

One criticism of the app is that it’s essentially a high-functioning bookmarking app, which means that it doesn’t offer any social media options. It’s easy to imagine hooking this app up to Pinterest or Instagram to share wish lists, but SnapUp CEO Shan Mehta told CNET that the app is meant to be a utility tool and “not a social shopping network.” Mehta said that he is confident there is an interest for bookmarking apps, and what makes this app different is its simple utilization of pictures and screen shots to update a wish list.

While the app is still very new on the market, the fact that it has attracted names such as Facebook and Yahoo to its corner makes for a very promising start. The app is fully operational and provides all the core functions that Mehta envisioned, but he said that he doesn’t expect it to gain popularity for a few years at least, comparing it to the commonly used cloud storage app Evernote, which didn’t see much attention in its initial years.

Though he seems confident that the app will be successful, Mehta told International Business Times that he and his team are waiting on results to determine whether or not they will go forward with an Android version. Do you think Mehta is right to keep SnapUp separate from social media, or would it be better to integrate?

Image courtesy of Flickr


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