While it may not theoretically be a new app, PlantNet has just recently garnered attention as a result of successful updates that have exponentially increased its downloads. It was released last summer and has continuously improved its database to be more inclusive and accurate to help users.
PlantNet is an app that can identify the plant you’re looking at based on a photo you take of it, making it the “Shazam” for plants. While image-matching is extremely difficult, considerably more than audio-matching like Shazam does, it’s made easier when it’s at least just limited to one, albeit immense, category: plants.
The app is meant to help identify wild plants for those that are out and about and find themselves wondering what species they’re looking at, but it’s being expanded to include domestic plants. With 6,400 plants in its database so far, the app is increasing its effectiveness and works by matching the picture you snap with the thousands in its database to find the plant you’re looking at. Since the app uses your location (if you allow it to), identifying wildflowers is made easier by narrowing down what plant it could be by first narrowing down the region.
Like many apps, increased usage helps the app to improve, but in this case it doesn’t just mean providing feedback. The photos that others take to determine a plant’s species are added to the database to help others more easily find their plant by creating more angles and colors to identify it with.
While there is tons of room for improvement with this app, the more people use it, the better. Unfortunately, the app is limited to Western Europe, areas surrounding the Indian Ocean, South America, and North Africa, but developers are working hard to not only expand their databases but also their broad regions. With more requests for places like North America, the developers are likely to focus their efforts on areas with the highest demands.
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