A 15 year old app researcher has discovered something hidden inside Snapchat’s code: text that reads “Press and hold to identify an object, song, barcode, and more! This works by sending data to Amazon, Shazam, and other partners.” The find, uncovered by Ishan Agarwal, who sent the tip to TechCrunch, strongly suggests that Snapchat is working on a ‘visual search engine’ that has some kind of link to Amazon.
The remarkable find pushed up Snap Inc’s value on the stock market up 3%. This underlines just how much of a big deal this could be for the social media company.
The feature, which is known internally as ‘Eagle’, indicates that Snapchat is moving quickly when it comes to developing new features. Given Snap Inc. reported a $385 million loss last quarter, this could be the shot in the arm the company needs.
Snap Inc. declined to comment on Agarwal’s discovery, when requested by TechCrunch. But although nothing has been confirmed, the evidence is clear enough inside the code.
How Snapchat’s ‘Eagle’ search function works
It’s likely that the new feature will pull up the Amazon product page, a list of sellers and reviews for the object – or product – that is snapped by the user. You’ll probably also be able to copy that Amazon link and share the info regarding the product with your friends.
However, there is an element of speculation here – we’ll have to wait and see when it finally launches.
The TechCrunch report, links them to Snapchat’s context card feature, launched towards the end of 2017. These are essentially cards which offer detailed information about, things like restaurants, such as opening times and reviews.
Snapchat has been coming up with different digital commerce tools and this feature fits the bill. This is especially true if the platform is aiming to move deeper into the eCommerce world. It’s worth noting that other social media platforms like Pinterest have similar features. In fact, Pinterest has already partnered with retailers like Target. In this instance, the visual search feature is directly embedded into the Target mobile app.
Google Lens also works in a similar fashion. The only difference is that Snapchat will use its third-party integration (with Amazon) for the identification process.
Ishan Agarwal: the 15 year old app researcher
This isn’t Ishan Agarwal’s first software discovery. He’s uncovered a number of new Instagram features, such as video calling and focus portrait mode before they were officially launched, all of which were sent as tips to TechCrunch
He’s clearly a valuable asset for TechCrunch – and now, given the positive movements on the stock market, an unexpectedly valuable asset for Snap too.
Follow Ishan Agarwal on Twitter: @IshanAgarwal24