Shazam is best known as a music identification app that helps connect artists to listeners, but the company is expanding its platform to use both images and audio to make everything from retail items to movie posters searchable.
The new search feature will rely on visual watermarks along with audio cues from store sound systems that are inaudible to humans but picked up by phone speakers. Consumers can take photographs of participating brands’ merchandise for more product information or use audio signals in store for special offers. For example, in a clothing store, Shazam users could take a picture of an item and then use the app to find a different size or even order and ship the item online without ever leaving the store.
In an interview with ClickZ at South by Southwest, Daniel Danker, chief product officer for Shazam, said the new services will simplify search by giving users all the information they need at the touch of a button. “It’s a real pain point to have to take a photo of something to Google later,” Danker said. “We’ve cut out complications in connecting artists and fans, and now we’re applying that same blueprint to the world around us.”
Danker also thinks the new service will integrate more seamlessly into retail stores than beacons or even apps because smaller brands often have a hard time adapting to technologies that require permissions from users before sending push notifications and using location information.
“Beacons require Bluetooth, and not every store has that,” Danker said. “And smaller retailers don’t have a chance of getting customers to download an app. Now they don’t have to. Shazam has user permissions and location. We’re already on phones.”
Shazam is currently partnering with brands to launch the new search services, and Danker hopes the platform will be a boon to small businesses.
“We’re giving brands the chance to offer both connectedness and authenticity so they can focus on creating a wonderful experience for customers,” Danker said.
Image via Shutterstock.
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