Snapchat is reportedly developing a visual product search feature, dubbed "Eagle," that fowards users to Amazon product pages, TechCrunch reported after being tipped off by app researcher Ishan Agarwal, who found hidden code in Snapchat's Android app indicating the feature.
Snapchat did not respond to Retail Dive's request for comment.
Snapchat already has an audio search feature in its app that integrates with music service Shazam, allowing users to identify song titles and find songs on Shazam by conducting a search based on a portion of a song.
While it’s unclear what, if anything, Snapchat is planning with this capability, it’s pretty clear the company is looking to leverage new technology to turn its platform into an engine of commerce.
This revelation of "camera search" code is not the first sign of that intention, but would fit right in with some other shopping-friendly enhancements it has made recently. Just last month, Snapchat extended shopping actions to stories, allowing users to clicking on shopping bag icons embedded in content. Rival Instagram, and just about every other social media network platform, is making similar moves to make their content more shoppable.
According to a recent Pew Research Center survey, Snapchat is third in popularity among social media users in their teens. Instagram was more popular among those surveyed, but Snapchat finished ahead of Facebook and Twitter, which should serve as strong motivation for Snapchat and its potential retail partners to do whatever they can to give this almost constantly online demographic any easier way to shop.
Snapchat's audio search feature already provides a template for how Snapchat could partner with retailers on an image-driven search feature. It could, for example, offer something similar to what Pinterest has done with its Pinterest Lens image search feature. Pinterest has partnered up with retailers such as Target and others to make it easier for Pinterest users to discover products sold by these retailers. A close read of the Snapchat app code featured in the TechCrunch story makes it pretty clear who Snapchat would partner with. As social networks look to connect their communities with retailers and turn them into more powerful revenue channels, Amazon is a pretty good place to start.