Amazon AR View shopping tool brings virtual product previews to Android

Amazon has added a new feature to its Android shopping app that makes it much easier to choose the best furniture and appliances for your home. Called AR View, the feature is exactly what it sounds like: an augmented reality tool that enables the user to view a product in their home without buying it first. The feature covers thousands of items available from Amazon, taking some of the guess work out of home shopping via the Internet.

Internet shopping is great for many things, but there are still items that many people prefer to buy in a physical store: clothing and furniture. The reason is obvious — it's difficult to anticipate how something will look in person; images can only do so much. That's where augmented reality comes in.

Thanks to augmented reality, it's possible to overlay a digital item onto the real-world environment. In this case, Amazon shoppers with an Android device can put a digital product in their own living room, bedroom, or whichever room it belongs in, seeing exactly how it looks in a more realistic manner.

For example, if you're thinking about buying a particular recliner, AR View will let you see what it looks like in your own living room simply by holding your phone's camera up. As Amazon demonstrates in the video above, potential buyers can view the virtual product from any angle by moving around it while holding their phone in place.

The feature is easy to use: open the Amazon app, then tap the camera icon in the search bar. Form there, tap "AR View" to browse and select the items available to virtually preview. Amazon explains that every product is rendered with an accurate size so the customer can see what it looks like in their home. The feature is also available to iOS users.