Get This App: Flow

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[Apps to the left of you! Apps to the right of you! In the crowded app marketplaces, it’s all too easy to overlook a useful piece of mobile software. Our Get This App series can guide you to these under-appreciated gems.]

I know, I know. You don’t need yet another app to search the Web for stuff to buy. But the iOS app Flow Powered By Amazon—Flow to its friends—doesn’t just search Amazon’s massive catalog of products: It also scans for products in its store when you point your iPhone’s camera at an item's barcode.

What’s that? You already know of oodles of other apps that also do barcode scanning? Fine, fine. But I’m willing to wager that Flow—built, as it is, by A9, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Amazon’s focused entirely on searching things as fast as possible—can look up barcodes faster than your favorite barcode-scanning app.

But that’s not all. Sure, Flow can (and does) scan barcodes with aplomb. Even better, though, is that it can just scan plain old labels: DVD covers, book covers, toiletry boxes, food packaging; if it’s got a cover, Flow can probably scan it and find the item—if it exists—at Amazon.

While other apps may recreate some of Flow’s functionality, I know of none that can pull off everything Flow does. When the app finds a match on Amazon, it doesn’t just tell you Amazon’s price; it also offers up a description of the product, quick access to customer reviews and ratings, and—of course—easy access to buy the product direct from Amazon, with nothing more than a tap or two.

Dare I say that it feels magical? And Flow's ability to scan items from their covers means it’s much faster to use when you want to quickly comparison shop from a brick-and-mortar store. Or if you’re visiting a friend and realize you need a copy of a video game, book, or other item of your very own; just point at it with Flow and have your order placed in mere seconds.

If you’re a regular Amazon shopper, downloading the free Flow app for your iOS device is a no-brainer.

Developer: A9 Innovations
Platforms: iOS
Price: Free

This story, "Get This App: Flow" was originally published by TechHive.

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