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Shazam moving beyond music to identify physical objects

by Jacob Kleinman | March 6, 2015March 6, 2015 10:00 pm EST


Shazam has carved out a nice niche for itself as the go-to app for identifying songs, but the company has much bigger plans for the future. The popular app may soon use your smartphone’s camera to identify physical objects as well.

Speaking to Reuters this week, Shazam CEO Rich Riley revealed how the company plans to expand beyond its current role on your smartphone. “Shazam is already a verb,” he said. “We want to expand the universe of what you can Shazam.”

That could range from pulling up nutritional information at the grocery store to tracking down the soundtrack for a movie based on its DVD cover. All you’ll have to do is point your phone at an object and press that iconic blue button. In some situations, the new service could feed into Shazam’s current music-focused business, since the company already lets you buy and stream music from inside the app. In other instances it could potentially offer a link to Amazon or another online shopping site.

Speaking of which, Amazon already offers a similar service of its own. It’s Firefly app promises to identify pretty much anything you show it, and the company offers a similar feature for iPhones as well. Shazam’s new venture could be a first step in competing directly with Amazon, though we don’t expect it to start selling us physical objects anytime soon.


Jacob Kleinman

Jacob Kleinman has been working as a journalist online and in print since he arrived at Wesleyan University in 2007. After graduating, he took a...