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Amazon Flow uses instant image recognition to search store

Amazon's latest app update could turn your neighborhood department store into nothing more than a high-priced show room.

The update introduces Flow. It's part of Amazon's existing app, found within the search menu. When you tap on Flow, the camera activates and Flow begins to analyze the objects you put in front of it. 

Amazon's app has had an image recognition feature for a long time, but a writer for Gizmodo notes this is something different.

The old feature was called "Snap It," and required you to take a picture and then send it off to Amazon's servers for analysis. 

But with Flow, you'll get instant feedback. The feature is constantly pinging Amazon's servers, looking for the objects you place in front of the camera.

>> Read more trending stories

How well does it work? TIME's Harry McCracken detailed his experience with the app, and he says"pretty well."

"It recognized most packaged items available from Amazon ... It spotted an old issue of TIME in all the clutter, correctly identified it and gave me the opportunity to buy a copy." (Via TIME)

Although in our trials with the app, we noticed the technology defaults to logo recognition before anything else. So while scanning this image of apple juice, it knew the logo but not the product.

iDownloadBlog reports Flow has actually been available since January, but Amazon has just begun to promote it. Amazon app users may begin to notice a popup box showing off the new feature.

Read more at newsy.com

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The Latest News Headlines

  • A suspect was killed during a shooting with a Jacksonville Sheriff’s Officer on the northside early Wednesday.  The officer was not injured.  According to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, the shooting happened on E. 19th Street near MLK Parkway on the northside.  We expect to learn more about the circumstances surrounding the shooting throughout the morning.  
  • Why did a Texas teacher accused of having an improper relationship with a student smile in her mugshot? Her lawyer has offered an explanation. According to Dallas-Fort Worth's KXAS, Jason Nassour, attorney for Lockhart High School anatomy teacher Sarah Fowlkes, said she was grinning because she's innocent. >> On Statesman.com: Lockhart High teacher accused of improper relationship with student 'This isn't a guilty person sitting there like they just got caught,' Nassour told KXAS. 'When everything's fleshed out, it won't be as it appears.' Lockhart police began investigating the incident March 10 after a school administrator reported that 'an educator at the school may be having an inappropriate relationship with a currently enrolled student,' according to the arrest affidavit. A 17-year-old student claimed that Fowlkes, 27, touched his genitals and that he 'made contact with the defendant's breasts,' the affidavit said. >> See the affidavit here Fowlkes was arrested on a charge of 'improper relationship between educator and student,' police said. The school district also suspended Fowlkes, The Austin American-Statesman reported. 'Lockhart parents entrust their children to us every day, and it is something we do not take lightly,' Lockhart Superintendent Susan Bohn said in a statement, the American-Statesman reported. 'The district does not and will not tolerate any improper communication or contact between a teacher and child.' Bohn also alerted parents about the arrest and suspension in an email, the American-Statesman reported. >> PREVIOUS STORY: Teacher accused of improper relationship with student smiles in mugshot  Nassour told KXAS that Fowlkes 'was arrested on the statement of a 17-year-old kid with no corroborating evidence.' >> Read more trending news According to the American-Statesman, Fowlkes, who taught anatomy and physiology and environmental systems at Lockhart High, previously taught science and social studies at Plum Creek Elementary School. The Houston Chronicle, citing Fowlkes' social media accounts, reported that she has been married since 2013. Watch next: Parent upset with kindergarten teacher who used Ouija board in class
  • Deputies are looking for 71-year-old Robert Maitland Dawson. The elderly man suffers from dementia and was reportedly in low spirits following a recent dispute.  Officials with the Sheriff’s Office says Dawson left his home in a 2013 Red Lincoln MKX with Florida tag IDY 701. He was last seen at the Speedway at Roberts Road and SR 13 N. Dawson is described as a white man, 6’01 tall, 200 lbs, with gray hair, green eyes and normally wears glasses.  He was last seen wearing dark colored pants and a long sleeve shirt.  If you have any information about Dawson’s whereabouts or if you have seen him, you are asked to call police or the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office at 904.824.8304
  • This may change your lunch or dinner plans.   Through this Thursday, the Clay County Sheriff's Office is hosting a 'Tip a Cop' event.   Spokesperson Angela Spears explains, 'You'll see our deputies, the detention deputies, command staff, and even our civilian employees, don those aprons, wait tables, go to tables, take the orders, bring the food out and get tips, is what we're asking.'   The Sheriff's Office says all of the proceeds will go toward Special Olympics Florida.   'They [the athletes] train year-round and excel in sports such as track and field, volleyball, and soccer, and with the community's help we're going to make sure we raise funds to help them travel to the upcoming state and world games,' says Spears.   Everyone's invited to stop by Longhorn Steakhouse on County Road 220 in Fleming Island and grab a bite to eat, from 11 am to 10 pm.   It's the 9th year Clay deputies have held the fundraiser.
  • The opening statements in the federal fraud trial of now-former Congresswoman Corrine Brown have been pushed back, after jury selection fails to wrap up in two long days. The court had hoped to have the 12 person jury and two alternates selected by the end of the day Tuesday. All of the questioning is done, but the attorneys have not yet had the chance to exercise all of their challenges to prospective panelists- with several dozen people still being held. Around 5:45 PM, Magistrate Judge James R. Klindt told the courtroom “some complications for jurors” that he wasn’t previously aware of prevented him from holding them any later in to the evening. Because of that, he decided to end for the night, and resume Wednesday to finalize the jury. Opening statements, which had been scheduled for 9:30AM, will now take place at 1PM. The first day of jury questioning focused specifically on this case, with Klindt asking prospective jurors whether they were previously aware of the charges, if they have any feelings toward former and- ultimately- if the information and pre-conceived notions could be set aside in order to consider only the evidence presented at trial. Prospective jurors were also able to raise issues of “extreme hardship”. In all, that led to 21 people being excused from the pool, while 44 rolled over to today.  Klindt wanted to have around 50 prospective jurors before moving to the second phase of questioning, so more were summoned to report for jury duty Tuesday morning. The day started with those new jurors facing the same hardship and case knowledge questions as those who first reported Monday. Of the 30 questioned as a group, 17 said they have some knowledge of the case and six said they have strong feelings toward Brown one way or the other. While 19 were flagged for further questioning, the court only needed to vet a few in order to reach a threshold where they were comfortable moving forward- 53 total prospective jurors, including the ones who rolled over from yesterday. The second round of questioning included looking at areas which are more broad and standard for jury selection- employment, prior experience in the legal or criminal systems, and more. Ultimately, 20 people were singled out for individual questioning following group responses. Many of them indicated they knew someone or had themselves been involved in either an arrest or some kind of legal filing. The majority of those who were questioned told he judge those legal proceedings would influence their ability to listen to evidence and render a fair and impartial verdict. Unlike Monday, when prospective jurors were being challenged “for cause” as they were being individually questioned, Klindt allowed for a few strikes and then determined the rest should be done at the conclusion of the questioning. Those cause challenges will be the first thing tackled Wednesday. After that, prospective jurors will be “sat” in the order of their randomly selected number, and the first 12 designated as the possible panel. From there, both prosecutors and the defense have a specific number of “peremptory” strikes- or strikes without cause- which they can exercise. As prospective jurors are removed from the box for those strikes, the next in line by number will fill in.  Once the 12 person jury is chosen, a similar process takes place for the two alternates. Once that is done, the jury is set.  It’s hoped that the jury will be seated by 11AM, at which point US District Judge Timothy Corrigan- who will preside over the trial itself- will come in an instruct the jury. There will then be a break, and opening statements will formally kick off the trial Wednesday at 1PM. This jury will not be sequestered for this trial, which is currently scheduled for three weeks. Klindt has given the pool specific and repeated instruction that they’re not allowed to consume any news or social media about the trial, that they’re not allowed to communicate with anyone about the case, and that if someone speaks about the case in their presence they’re supposed to leave.  Brown and two others are accused of soliciting more than $800,000 in donations to “One Door For Education”- a group she represented as a charity- but using the money for personal expenses instead, including travel, luxury events, and more. Her two alleged co-conspirators- former Chief of Staff Ronnie Simmons and the head of One Door Carla Wiley- both previously pleaded guilty. Brown has been indicted on 22 charges.  WOKV is in the federal courthouse as these proceedings move forward. Check back frequently to WOKV.com for updates, and follow our reporter Stephanie Brown on Twitter for updates during court recesses.

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