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Amazon's iPhone app gets barcode scanning update

Earlier today, Keith reported that Delicious Library developer Wil Shipley had barcode scanning on his radar as a future iteration for the late, lamented iPhone version of the popular catalog app. Lo and behold, within a few hours the newest update to the Amazon Mobile app hit the store -- featuring, you guessed it, barcode scanning.

With the new 1.2.8 version of the free app, and an iPhone 4 or 3GS running iOS 4.x, you can quickly scan a product barcode to search Amazon's catalog for matching items. The scanning screen offers a handy bracketing guide to show you where to position your product, and once you get the hang of it the scanning is very quick.

I tested the barcode scan on three products I had lying about -- a Griffin Motif case for the iPhone 4, a Flip Mino box, and a James Patterson novel -- and the app identified the product each time without trouble. You could use the Amazon Remembers feature of the app to snap a picture of the cover instead, or use Google Goggles / Noogle Noggles to search by the barcode, but if you're used to working in the Amazon app for product searches this feature is a win.

Amazon barcode scanning is a trifle faster than either of the Goggles apps, and more streamlined from a user interaction perspective as well. Since Amazon's tool is only looking for an in-focus barcode it doesn't need the camera button; that saves a tap and an awkward product-hand-iPhone alignment dance. (Only Noogle Noggles, from Delicious Monster, supports the camera-equipped iPod touch at this time.)

Search on!

Thanks Jacob for the heads up!

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