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Understanding Firefly


This document describes the operation of Firefly at a high level.

Firefly technology allows you to identify real-world items by scanning them with your Fire phone.  These items can include books, videos, music, email addresses, barcodes, QR codes, web addresses, and phone numbers.

Basic Firefly Operation

The following screenshots show how Firefly works to identify a book cover.

A user sees a book and activates Firefly to get more information about it.

Firefly process 1

Firefly processes the image of the book cover. If the item can be identified, Firefly creates a digital representation of the item and illuminates and tracks the item.

Firefly creates a tappable user interface element for each identified item and displays that item at the bottom of the screen. In this case, Firefly only identified one item (a book), so there is only one UI element.

Firefly process 2

When the user taps an identified item's label, Firefly opens a detail page. This page includes a list of actions the user can take on the identified item. The available actions are either built in to Firefly—for example, to purchase the identified book from Amazon, or to share details about the item—or are provided by plugins.

Firefly process 3

Plugins allow you to extend Firefly by providing additional actions for an identified item. For example, a book review plugin could provide review data about an identified book, and the music and video plugins can provide custom actions based on a song or television show that is playing.

To see which plugins are installed and enabled, open Firefly's left panel.


Items that Firefly has identified remain in the Firefly history, which is accessible by swiping up from the history chevron while Firefly is active. Tapping an item in the history opens its detail page. Remove items from the history by opening the detail page and tapping “Delete from history.” Previously identified items are also available in the home screen carousel.

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