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Apps Help Customers Shop Using Their Camera

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) -- It is the latest in shopping trends: apps that let you buy items with a simple click of your camera.

"A lot of times, I'll find, I'll see things in, like a magazine or an ad, so I'll go and try to look that up and it can be kind of difficult to find," said shopper Sandra Bohlken.

Click here to watch Cynthia Demos' report.

Not anymore. Bohlken tried out the Target app. Here's how it works. You download the app, and look for an icon on an ad, take a picture of it and you're able to buy anything in the ad right on the spot.

"It takes a picture of the entire ad and so then I have an option of all the different things in the ad," Bolken said.

Target officials said it's just one way they're using technology to lure tech savvy shoppers.

"I think clearly, technology is changing the way we shop, whether it's image recognition, visual search, augmented reality, these are all things we're testing," said Eddie Baeb, with Target's corporate communications.

Target isn't the only retailer doing this.

On, you can input an image of must have shoes and a visual search tool will find the product or bring up look-a-likes. Apple has the Camfind app, which recognizes and describes items. And Google has its Google app, which Amy Curtis uses in a variety of ways.

"I use it to compare prices, I use it to search the Internet for pictures and art," Curtis explained.

There are limitations like sometimes recognition tools can't identify everything and privacy experts warn that your location can be tracked through the images that you click.

"Where it starts to become a problem is when you take pictures of human faces, or when the metadata starts to allow surveillance technology to associate people, places and time."

Be aware, once you click over to a company site for purchase, you then fall under website privacy rules, where more information may potentially be collected and shared.



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