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Amazon.com adds Flow to main iOS shopping app; snap pics to find products

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As of Thursday, CNet reported, Amazon.com has integrated the functionality of its Flow app into its main shopping software, at least on iOS. Flow, which launched in 2011, lets users take a photo of a product instead of scanning a barcode or searching by typing its name. Flow then finds the correct product based on the photo.

Flow still exists as a separate product. Amazon.com is hoping the new integration will encourage users to buy still more items in the window shopping-like practice that brick-and-mortars retailers hate. Customers go to a retailer, pick out a product, and then compare its price to Amazon.com. The Internet giant usually wins.

Of course, that sort of price checking also has a dedicated Amazon.com app -- Price Check.

Sam Hall, vice president of Amazon Mobile, said in a statement,

Flow instantly matches products in your home to items on Amazon. Once you have added that box of garbage bags or baby wipes, just keep moving your phone over other packaged goods you need to restock and the Amazon app recognizes the product and saves it into your search history.

You can search items lined up on the counter, stored on a shelf, or pick them out of a cupboard, taking care of your shopping needs in seconds.

In addition to being iOS-only, Flow is only available on devices running iOS 7 or greater. In the App Store, the Amazon app describes the new feature as follows:

Flow is a new way to search for multiple products at the same time using your iPhone camera. Flow works best with packaged groceries, books, DVDs, and video games. Available for iOS7 only.

While not available on Android yet, we'd expect it's only a matter of time, since with the Kindle Fire it's obvious Amazon.com is all in for Android. Meanwhile, the Flow app still exists in both the Google Play Store and Apple's App Store.

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