Who’d have thought that over 150 years after the first baseball cards were printed in the late 1860s that trading cards would still be a hot commodity? Every minute, almost 100 of them are sold on eBay, according to the company. So, to make the process smoother, it’s updating its app with image recognition capabilities that can expedite the creation of a trading card listing.
The new feature won’t be available in the app until late April, but when it arrives, it will only support Magic the Gathering cards at first, with support for Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh! cards being added in May, and then other trading card games and sports cards being supported later this year. By automatically recognising a card using a mobile device’s camera, eBay promises the app will allow a seller to create a listing in half the time, reducing the amount of information that has to be entered manually.
Using the new feature sounds easy enough and starts with a seller searching for the name of the game until a tappable prompt appears that allows a user to “Tap to search with your camera.” Pointing a device’s camera at the card will bring up a list of potential matches in eBay’s database that includes details like the card’s title, its type, its power, and its rarity. If the search returns several options, the user simply selects the closest match and a listing will be auto-populated with all of the card’s details.
Once the listing is started, it’s up to the user to then add details about the condition of the card, the price they’re asking for it (including shipping costs and logistics), and their own photos of it so potential buyers can see what shape it’s in for themselves. It’s a clever approach, and while it won’t work for everything people list on eBay (maybe one day it will function as an AI-powered version of Antiques Roadshow when it’s time to list grandma’s spoon collection), there are lots of other items it could immediately assist with including video games, records, and other types of collectible media with distinct labels or packaging.