This undated image provided by Amazon shows the company's Firefly app. A key feature of Amazon’s new Fire smartphone is its Firefly service, a visual search feature, which also has modes for music and video. (AP Photo/Amazon)
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Though many companies are trying to make "visual search" a reality, this seemingly simple notion remains elusive.Take Amazon, which made visual search a key feature in its new Fire smartphone. The e-commerce company says the feature, known as Firefly, can recognize 100 million items. It's similar to a Flow feature Amazon has on its apps for other phones. Visual search is important to retailers because it makes mobile shopping a snap – literally.Creating apps that consistently recognize images and objects has been more challenging.The technology works by analyzing visual characteristics, or points, such as color, shape and texture.Visual search works best when there is a clearly defined image on a white background.Some retailers are finding success with visual search by keeping the selection of searchable products limited.
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