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MIT Technology Review

Snapchat has a hidden visual search function

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The popular photo-sharing app has unreleased sections of code that will enable people to search for things using photos they take with their phone.

What it says: According to TechCrunch, text buried in Snapchat’s programming reads, “Press and hold to identify an object, song, barcode, and more! This works by sending data to Amazon, Shazam, and other partners.” After the scan is complete, you can “See all results at Amazon.”

Code detective: The feature, code-named “Eagle” was discovered by a 15-year-old app researcher, Ishan Agarwal.

Why it matters: It reveals a possible partnership with Amazon and indicates that Snapchat is looking for new ways to bring in revenue. According to the Information, Snap will also be launching a gaming platform this fall. A visual search feature could set Snapchat apart from platforms like Instagram and give users a reason to stay with—or come back to—the app. Snap’s stock got a 3 percent bump yesterday on the news.

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