EBay to add image recognition to mobile offerings

EBay plans to add image-recognition technology to its mobile offerings, allowing shoppers to snap photos of items they covet - such as a cute dress a friend is wearing - that an eBay app will match up with similar items for sale on eBay.com.

Speaking on the sidelines of Inc.'s X.commerce conference in San Francisco on Wednesday, CEO John Donahoe said eBay plans to roll out the feature by the end of the year. The San Jose, Calif.-based online marketplace operator has not yet decided which of eBay's apps will get the feature; besides eBay Mobile the company offers a fashion app and several others.

It's also not clear if the feature would work just for items like clothing and accessories or if it would eventually find any products on eBay.

The fashion section of eBay.com already has a somewhat similar feature that lets users click to see clothing and bags that resemble what they're checking out on the site.

EBay's image-recognition plan also sounds somewhat like Inc.'s Google smartphone app, which lets users photograph text or certain types of objects that Google then searches the Web for.

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