Object recognition has always been big in Japan, whether it involves scanning a barcode with your mobile camera to find the best deal, or taking a photo of a picture to get special offers.
Now the western world has become obsessed with scanning codes and objects to make their lives easier.
Kooaba doesn’t need barcodes and will recognise items purely by sight. This technological witchcraft is currently limited to CDs, DVDs and video games but the developer plans to expand the remit of the program over time.
Now this is clearly a different kettle of fish to CompareEverywhere, an app we reviewed a while ago pn Know Your Mobile; the appeal of Kooaba is in building up a comprehensive database of your personal media collection. This might seem like the digital equivalent of alphabetising your CDs but it’s actually very cool in practice.
To add an item you merely take a photo of the cover using the phone’s camera and it quickly scans the net to locate the details. You might think that such a process would throw up plenty of errors but we were pleasantly surprised by how accurate Kooaba is.
Sure, there are some amusing miss-matches but on the whole the application is hard to fault, and more often than not it’s the poor quality of the photo which causes the problem.
When you’re done – which will naturally depend on the size of your CD or DVD haul – you’ll have a complete catalogue of your personal media at your fingertips. But that’s not all – Kooaba also allows you to browse for prospective purchases on sites such as Amazon or eBay.
In this regard it shares similarities with CompareEverywhere; should you be shopping in your local record store and find an album you like, you can quickly snap the cover and let Kooaba show you if it’s cheaper elsewhere.
Likewise, if you find yourself flicking through a magazine and spot an advert for a new DVD you’re interested in but aren’t quite ready to buy, simply take a photo and the resultant search will be stored for posterity. You can then access this information at a later date, should you change your mind and decide to commit to a purchase.
However, the program really triumphs when it comes to the other options available; if you’ve scanned in a CD then it will display any YouTube links relevant to the artist, such as interviews, concert footage or music videos.
It will also search for tickets for upcoming gigs, and list community sites that might be of interest. In the case of a movie (which can be identified by either a DVD cover or a promotional movie poster) you can watch trailers and locate other interesting information.
For example, you might be at a loose end one night and notice a poster for a movie on a bus stop. Snap a shot, and Kooaba will track down the trailer so you can ascertain if it’s really worth your money. The best thing is that you could be doing all this whilst standing outside the cinema, money at the ready.
Kooaba is a great idea and certainly works well in practice, and if the developer can add more items to the database – books, for example – then this could end up being one of the most useful tools available on the Android Marketplace.
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Website/Demo: Kooaba website