After 16 months of loyal service to customers, our R&D project application Tesco Wine Finder for iPhone has now been finally removed from sale.
The application has reached a natural end-of-life as an R&D project. It has been downloadable from the iTunes App Store since December 2009 using our Tesco.com R&D Team account (compared to production apps which are published using the Tesco PLC account)..
We hope to include visual searching again in our main production apps at some stage in the future, as we process our learnings - mainly about how customers used the app to search for products.
I have blogged before how I personally think that barcode scanning is only the beginning of a journey into visual searching. How great would it be to scan the product by simply taking a photograph of any part of the product, not just its barcode? Indeed I visualise taking a photo-scan of an entire meal and getting an app to reveal all its ingredients!
The results from using Tesco Wine Finder prove that visual scanning of a product - not just of the barcode - has a great future. It just seems such a natural thing to do. That's really good news - and thank you for telling us through use of this app.
Why withdraw it now? Simply maintaining the service supporting the app to cover the latest Tesco wine data and labels was getting too great for a Tesco.com R&D project, and we felt it might become an unfair reflection on our excellent partner, Cortexica Vision Systems, who worked with us to create the service for you.
However the excellent findings that ourselves and Cortexica experienced with you using Tesco Wine Finder means that we'll aim to do more in the future. No plans yet but keep watching.
In the meantime, please download Cortexica's own excellent visual Wine Finder from the iTunes App Store - click here for a web page with more information.
I'd like to thank all the team at Cortexica for their help developing, launching and supporting the app. Their 'vision' (pun intended) really made a difference to our thinking about how to give customers simple yet effective searching tools. I respect all the work of the team there for a job spectacularly well done.
If you have already installed Tesco Wine Finder, it won't be pulled from your iPhone but you are likely to find the R&D server service supporting the app unresponsive very soon. Let it go and use Cortexica's own Wine Finder instead!