Kooaba, available for iPhone and Android OS, is a search app with a difference – it works by allowing you to take a photo of whatever it is you’re interested in and using image recognition to determine the search.
You can add your searches to your Kooaba library, allowing you to save searches for another time or for when you get home, as everything on your personal online account is also automatically synced to Kooaba’s desktop application.
Although this kind of application isn’t unheard of, in fact there are similar ones on offer such as barcode readers for product searches, it’s definitely an intriguing idea. Unlike many barcode applications, Kooaba doesn’t need anything but an image of a CD, DVD or book to find what you’re looking for on the web.
Before using Kooaba for the first time, I was somewhat skeptical due to the somewhat mediocre reviews left by users, but I soon changed my mind when testing it out on some of my media collection. I was impressed at the accuracy of it, especially when some of my less known books and CD’s were recognised straight away.
After Kooaba recognises what it is you’ve just taken a picture of, you’ll be offered various choices of where to go next, including the option of viewing a Wikipedia article on your product, or searching eBay to see if there are any auctions currently running on the item. These had various degrees of success, for example, instead of being taken to a Wiki page on “The Pianist”, a memoir by Wladyslaw Szpilman, I was treated to the Wiki of the man himself. As interesting as this was, it wasn’t quite right… Whether this is due to Wikipedia or the way the search is conducted by Kooaba itself I don’t know, although I often got the right result for other searches.
External links are grouped in categories, making them easy to access for whatever product it is you’re curious about, and make Kooaba really stand out against other similar apps in the market. Not only is the search itself accurate, but depending on the type of media you’ve scanned, you’re presented with different options related to your search.
When I tried scanning in a book I was given links to information about the product, shopping options and search functions. When I scanned in a CD, more options became available to me including the ability to view related media on sites such as YouTube and Flickr, and even check if concert tickets were available at this time for that particular artist.
Not only is Kooaba a great idea, but the execution is also brilliant with a very intuitive interface that’s easy to navigate and simple to manage. The flexibility it offers depending on what you take a picture of is an indispensable feature that definitely sets it apart in an otherwise saturated market of search applications. It brings great features together and allows you to take snaps of book covers, CD and DVD covers, game covers and even movie posters!
The possibilities for Kooaba are endless, and as the product database continues to grow in the future it can only get better. This free app is definitely worth checking out if you have an iPhone or Android device!