You Can 'Shazam' Images Now

05/28/2015 10:50 am ET | Updated May 28, 2015
Shazam

Shazam, the popular app perhaps best known for allowing you to identify songs by holding your phone up when they're playing, is getting a bit more visual.

The company announced Thursday that the app can now engage with images. Hold your phone's camera up to a compatible picture -- a poster, magazine cover or postcard, say -- and Shazam will display additional media. For example, you could scan the latest cover of Esquire magazine to watch a video of action star Jason Statham, well, being Jason Statham.

The move seems centered mostly on advertising. If you were to scan a compatible poster for "Tomorrowland," you'd simply be able to watch an "exclusive trailer" for the movie on your phone. Shazam a Target advertisement, and you'll be able to "shop featured products."

Shazam's new visual content might remind you a bit of QR codes, those little boxes you may notice on products, billboards or ads that you can scan to view content online. There are also similarities with augmented reality apps, which lock onto images in the real world and "project" visual content on top of them on your smartphone screen.

But Shazam has something that QR code and augmented reality apps lack: A core audience of over 100 million monthly active users.

The company was recently valued at $1 billion.

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