I guess you all know Shazam (if you don’t, don’t worry, I’ll blog on that one later on). kooaba is similar to Shazam, but instead of using the mic for information, it uses the camera. So with kooaba you could photograph anything you’d like and you’ll get information about what it is, etc.
Okey, anything’s wrong. As for now it recognizes covers. You just photograph a cover, and kooaba will analyze the picture and give you the proper information you’d like to have.
E.g. imagine you’d see a DVD in a shop, and you wonder what the movie’s about, how it’s rated, and wether the 20€ the shop asks, is a fair price or not. Just open kooaba, take a photo and wait a while – actually you’d really need to wait a while, as it takes a bit (between 30 seconds and a minute). But when done, you’d get a lot of usefull links to your source, like:
- A link to search sites like Google and Yahoo!
- Information that was found on Wikipedia, IMDb, Tourdates, etc. (depending on the media)
- Shopping links, like iTunes Store, Amazon, eBay, online ticket stores (for concerts and tours, e.g. at Eventim)
- Media like Trailers on YouTube, photos on flickr, etc.
- Web 2.0 features, like “recommend to a friend” eMails, Facebook, blippr, last.fm, etc.
All that links of course depend on the media – if you’d search for a book cover you won’t get an iTunes Store link or a blippr link. If you’d search for music you’d properly get YouTube Links as well as a link to last.fm, but no link to LMDb, etc. 😉
Cool thing: It’ll store your searches, unless you delete them. So it’s also a nice tool to just remember the items you’d seen. So what can you search for? At the moment it’s possible to search for cinema movie posters, for DVD covers, for music album covers, for book covers and for computer game covers.
I myself only tried out music covers, DVD covers and book covers (I didn’t have any cinema posters or games, that I could test it on – I’ll do that later, if possible). What’s pretty cool: Unlike many other Apps, kooaba also supports German stuff. But before you’d get to euphoric: There’s a bunch of stuff it doesn’t recognize. I’d guess the figure of right items is somewhere between 80-90%. But it depends on what you are looking for. For instance, I tried to search for some scientific books (e.g. from the Franz Vahlen publisher, or Springer IT-Books, etc.), and there the results are really worse (I guess because the books all look alike). Music, movie or novel covers on the other hand are recognized much better. Today I was in a bookstore and it recognized 18 out of 20 novels. Anyway, even those that are not recognized are kept in the result list, so at home you can go through your list, and look up the things, you’d find interesting, and see wether they are really worth buying.
In my eyes that’s what makes this tool great. Just photograph the things you want, and see wether they are worth buying (by checking Wikipedia for the contents and critics, or by viewing the reviews at Amazon), and wether the price is a competitive one (compared to iTunes, Amazon or eBay). And if you’d think they are interesting but you don’t want to buy them right away, just keep them in the list and you wont forget them.
Kooaba is not only an App for the iPhone (beside also being an Application for the Android cellphone OS), it is also a webservice. So besides saving and storing your lists on the iPhone, you could also upload them, and organize your stuff on a nice web interface, giving you possibilities, like viewing your stuff in list or icon view, etc. Also, there are some additional features available, like a short preview of the information at amazon or last.fm, the possibility to rate your items, or to share them also on twitter or digg. Another cool feature is the possibility to sort your stuff in different lists, like movies, music, games, etc.
kooaba is a pretty cool App, that makes your life a little easier. But it seems to be still a experimental. For instance I didn’t manage to log into the webservice totday (okey I only tried that today – maybe there’s something wrong with the servers and it’ll work probably tomorrow). Also two times the application just crashed. One time it wasn’t that bad, but the second time I had recorded some book covers already. When it crashed and I restarted it, all those last records where gone; it just showed me the records that where there already, before starting the app. That’s pretty bad, since know it seems, that your stuff is only getting stored when you close the app – till then it seems to be on volatile memory.
On the Kooaba website you’ll find some additional information, like a little video showing you how the tool works. You can also create an account, and you’ll find the links to the App-Store, to their facebook account, and to their twitter account.