Scan a printed article’s headline, instantly get the digital version

10 Apr

Peekster is an app that enables readers to scan the headline of a print article in order to quickly bring up the digital version on their phone, for sharing or saving for later.


Every article that appears in a major magazine today comes in two forms — its printed version and its online counterpart, but they’re both often left unlinked. Peekster is a new app that enables readers to scan the headline of a print article in order to quickly bring up the digital version on their phone, for sharing or saving for later.

The iOS app has been designed for publishers to be able to seamlessly connect their online and offline content. Users reading an article in the print edition of a publication simply take a photo of the headline or a paragraph of text with Peekster. The app uses optical recognition to detect the text and retrieves the corresponding digital article, which can then be shared via social media or saved to read-later apps such as Instapaper or Evernote. The app works like Shazam for print, and also offers up a number of related articles.

The basic Peekster app is free to download but come with some reading limitations that can be unlocked through upgrading to the premium app. Although for now Peekster’s focus is on enabling social sharing of print media, eventually it will turn towards a marketplace model, offering related articles as in-app purchases. It’s already struck up deals with UK titles such as The Guardian, The Independent, The Times and the London Evening Standard. The video below shows the app in action:

The concept behind Peekster is similar to Bookie — the app that lets users digitally search and annotate the physical book they’re reading by scanning its ISBN — in that it brings the benefits of digital to consumers who still prefer to read print publications. Are there other offline products that could be more easily linked to relevant online content?



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