Shopping

Facebook Buys Shop-By-Picture Tech Company

Photo Credit: Tin Shingle

Photo Credit: Tin Shingle

Facebook just bought a shopping tech company, GrokStyle, that was a shopping tool created for the visual search space, and was used in Ikea’s mobile app. The way it worked was, a person could take a picture of a piece of furniture, and the technology would match it to similar pieces of furniture that the person could buy.

Deep dives by the media (social or print/digital brands) into shopping integration with online content continues. As StarOnline pointed out in their article, GrokStyle stated that they were shutting down as a company, but would continue on in team and technology. The statement did not include that the team would be at Facebook.

Screenshot of  GrokStyle’s announcement  of winding down the company as it’s known now.

Screenshot of GrokStyle’s announcement of winding down the company as it’s known now.

According to every article that published a story about this, they credited Facebook’s statement announcing this purchase including Bloomberg News, quoting Facebook’s spokesperson Vanessa Chan: "We are excited to welcome GrokStyle to Facebook. Their team and technology will contribute to our AI capabilities."

How Facebook Benefits By The Shopping-By-Picture Feature

Print media began adopting shopping into its print and digital pages, by way of picture scanning, like at Seventeen, and via good old fashioned affiliate links like with GQ, or that time in 2012 with Nordstrom sales. Facebook replaced Craig’s List with its group selling groups, where you could post a picture into a Buy/Sell group, and get immediate response as to if you had a buyer.

Then Facebook released Marketplace, where this buy/sell activity could begin happening instead. Simultaneously, visibility of anything posted at the then old Buy/Sell groups got slow. Instead, Facebook suggested ways to share the post (ie more work for me, and to keep me on the website), which is an attempt to increase activity on their website. I used to use the feature quite a lot. People in Buy/Sell groups moved to Marketplace, and is now is the place where people can have instant garage sales. Brands can also have a shop on Facebook and sell that way. Anyone can start Donation pages. Collections for birthdays, etc.

Facebook is trying to hook the next generation. The children. But the kids these days see Facebook as a Grandma and Parent Hangout, and don't want to hang with their parents. If Facebook can’t lock in teens and kids by way of whichever strategies they are attempting at the moment, Facebook is trying to lock it in with shopping. It must be hard to appeal to all of the people in all of the world all of the time. That’s a big customer base!

In Other News, Facebook Snuggles With Cryptocurrency…$$ To Buy The Stuff? Or Kill It…

Bloomberg also pointed out that Facebook acquired a blockchain technology company earlier this year. “The GrokStyle purchase marks the second reported acquisition by Facebook this year. Earlier this month, the company bought the team behind blockchain technology company Chainspace for an undisclosed sum. The company purchased at least four firms last year, including startups focused on messaging and AI.”

Interestingly, Facebook had blocked ads related to cryptocurrency, stating that the crypto marketplace is too high risk. This done in Facebook’s attempts to step away from being the vehicle people use to guide people down a bad - or wrong - path. In June of 2018, Facebook reportedly lifted that ban on cryptocurrency ads a little bit.

However, since that time (November 2018, actually), Tin Shingle wrote an article about cryptocurrency when we highlighted a blogger, Digiconomist, who covers cryptocurrency in depth. Facebook blocked our ability to Boost that article on their platform in November 2018.

Insert: Thinking Emoji…