Shazam has expanded the reach of its music, movies and television show identification app to include visuals. By using a mobile device’s camera, it can scan and interpret static images from participating partners and present users with a host of additional information including interactive content and exclusive offers.
To use the new feature, simply tap the camera icon within the app (you’ll need to grant the app access to your camera the first time) then point your camera at the content you want to Shazam. If the image or QR code is from a participating partner, the app will recognize it and load the associated content.
Shazam can recognize all sorts of things including packaged goods (think DVDs or themed toys), magazines, books, movie posters, postcards and more. Early partners include Blue Soho, Disney, Esquire, Self, Sports Illustrated and WSJ Magazine.
If you haven’t figured out by now, Shazam’s new visual scanning tool is less about discovery and more about marketing (and ultimately, advertising). Unlike the audio tool which is actually a useful utility (and is the reason why Shazam has more than 100 million active monthly users), the visual tool doesn’t provide you with much that you can’t already find on your own via a quick Google query.
I’ll concede that the occasion special offer (like a coupon code) might be useful but that’s about it. It’s hard not to somehow compare this to the ill-fated CueCat or a host of other QR code offers that haven’t really made much of an impact in the world of mobile discovery.
If you want to try it out for yourself, simply install the latest Shazam update from the App Store or Google Play, find some participating content and scan away.