The Hidden Agenda of Amazon’s New Phone

From Wired:

“Yes, with the Fire Phone, Amazon is making an aggressive move into Apple and Google’s territory in the smartphone market. On stage, Bezos directly compared the quality of the Fire Phone camera to the iPhone 5S and the Samsung Galaxy S5. He showed off the fact that the Fire Phone is better for outdoor viewing than the alternatives, and he explained that it makes reading on the phone easier, something that Amazon has an understandable interest in with its trove of digital books, because users need only tilt the phone to scroll through the pages.

But perhaps more importantly, Amazon is entering a competition for Google’s ad dollars. The bulk of Google’s business is still advertising. Even as it works on so-called “moonshot” projects like driverless cars and Google Glass, Google lives by the promise that it has the best service for tracking potential customers and showing them an ad. But Amazon just released a feature on its smartphone called Firefly, which, if truly successful, could bypass Google altogether.

Firefly is essentially search in a button. It lets anyone take a photo of an object and immediately see its listing on Amazon. Firefly can also recognize things it hears, like music on the radio. Of course, the tool lets you buy stuff on Amazon, but third-party apps can also integrate with Firefly. So, for example, if you’re listening to a song on the radio, Firefly might give you the option to buy the album from Amazon, buy a concert ticket on Stubhub, create an IHeartRadio playlist of that artist, and in time, much more. Firefly completely bypasses the need to Google that song to find out who the artist is to buy a ticket on Stubhub or set up a playlist on another app. Amazon can woo Google’s advertisers without advertising.”

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