Why type when you can snap a photo? That’s the thinking behind the latest update to Ikea’s Place app, the augmented reality app that allows people to drop a virtual piece of furniture into their home. With the newest update to Place, users can merely point their phone camera at any piece of furniture and the app will automatically find similar Ikea items for sale.
GrokStyle, the company behind the visual search technology, uses computer vision to link what your phone camera sees to a library of Ikea images. Snap a photo of a chair or sofa, for example, and the app will automatically surface a list of Ikea pieces that match the visual description.
It’s a handy tool, especially when you consider how hard it is to accurately describe furniture (Ivory? Midcentury modern? Curvy?). By pulling in the shape, color, and style of a piece, Ikea’s app can parse the aesthetic nuances that people might neglect when plugging a search term into Google. In a clever move, Place’s new visual search piggybacks on its original mission to show users how Ikea furniture will look in their home. Now with one app you can snap a pic, overlay the furniture in your home, and—Ikea hopes—eventually click “buy.”