48 hours ago Snooth released their new iPhone app for $4.99 on iTunes. First impression is this app is a game changer. Moreover, it represents where the future of apps are going in many consumer-facing industries.
The sexiest feature of Snooth's new app is the photo recognition of wine labels. And really, this alone is what makes it a game changer. Up until now, the hot feature in apps was QR codes, or or UPC code recognition found in RedLaser's app. I've always thought QR codes were like visual spam. Imagine a world (or retail environment) where a bunch of products all have QR codes within one space—it's visually distracting. QR codes are the gateway drug to the REAL use of mobile technology: photo recognition.
Photo recognition isn't just limited to the wine industry. Within months you're going to see photo recognition showing up in apps for other industries, from tires to fashion and everywhere in between. Google Goggles was one of the first photo recognition tools where the user simply takes a photo of a product, and the phone goes to fetch any and all data related to the product. What I like about the Snooth Pro app is Snooth solved the difficult problem of how to sort out all the various ways a product can be listed. If you're looking for 2007 St. Supéry Sauvignon Blanc (discl: my employer), Snooth gives you a few choices to verify you've selected the correct vintage:
Snooth already has a rich database full of neatly organized wine data. This app gets out of the way and lets the user quickly identify the wine they're drinking by using photo recognition in a painless way while at the same time making it possible for the user to tag a photo to match their database. The true power of hand held devices lies in the ability for the user to quickly identify the product with minimal input, but get back a bunch of useful data from the "cloud".
Snooth took it a step further. They built in another game changing feature that could be an app by itself. In fact, the new grappos.com iPhone app does just that. The 'wine finder' technology is also helpful as it lets the user see where they can find the identified wine around them.
Snooth has raised the bar with next generation technology, but it wouldn't be useful if there wasn't a balance of form and function. Good design is still critical to a successful app. Snooth not only adds new functionality, but they also have a history of clean design. This Snooth Pro app is well thought out. From a purely design perspective, the UX (user experience) is very pleasant and easy to navigate. For $4.99 this app is a steal considering how much "new stuff" there is in it.