Is Snapchat partnering with Amazon for a new camera search tool?

Is Snapchat partnering with Amazon for a new camera search tool?

According to reports, Snap (the parent company of Snapchat) is in the process of creating a new visual search feature that directs users to Amazon’s product listings. Going by the codename ‘Eagle’, the new tool will allow users to identify an objects, song, or barcode by pointing the app’s camera at them. The recorded information will be then sent to Amazon, Shazam and other partners.

This new feature may be building on Snapchat’s existing Shazam integration, which was introduced to the platform in 2016. When a user records a song that’s playing nearby, the app’s audio search feature will identify it and give them the option to view the song’s details on Shazam, as well as send the song to a friend and follow the artist on Snapchat.

Although Snapchat and Amazon are still yet to confirm the partnership, app researcher, Ishan Agarwal recently discovered that the app’s code now references a tool dubbed ‘Camera Search’. 9to5Mac has also reported that there are strings of code that reference Amazon, and the project’s codename, Eagle.

As Tech Crunch explains in their original report, Snapchat’s code doesn’t explain how their new camera search tool will work. However, it does reference “sellers” and “reviews”, and lists a number of abilities including “Share” or “Send Product”, “Share Song”, “Copy URL”, and “See all results at Amazon”. Tech Crunch theorises that the “Share” and “Send” actions will utilise Snap’s existing messaging feature and Snapchat Stories.

The TJM take: One of the biggest advantages of Snapchat introducing a new visual search feature and partnering with Amazon is that it could open a new revenue stream for the social media platform. As Tech Crunch points out, Snap already has in-app shopping, and an affiliate (referral) deal with Amazon could be a welcome boost to the platform as they posted a $385 million loss last quarter.

It can be concluded that one of the biggest reasons for Snapchat’s loss in revenue could be due to the growing use of their competitor, Instagram. It has been reported that their own version of Snapchat’s Stories function, Instagram Stories, has double the users and a growth rate that is six times faster than that of Snapchat Stories.

Although Instagram and Snapchat now have many similar features (putting them in direct competition with each other), a visual search feature could give Snapchat a unique edge on Instagram with a quirky, fun, useful feature that their competitor doesn’t offer. Could this be just the thing to boost Snapchat’s floundering popularity?