Home > Articles > Home & Office Computing > Entertainment/Gaming/Gadgets

A Personal Staff in Your Pocket: The Amazon Fire Phone's Firefly

  • Print
  • + Share This
Lonzell Watson, author of My Amazon Fire Phone, points out a feature of your Fire phone that will soon become a best friend. Point Firefly at text, artwork, product QR codes, and so on, and your phone becomes a secretary, a research librarian, a personal shopper for music and movies, and even a moderately good translator.
Like this article? We recommend

Like this article? We recommend

Point your Amazon Fire phone's camera at an item, and press the Firefly button to identify the product and provide more detail. And you can spare the rest of your fingers; because Firefly reads printed text and phone numbers, you can save contacts, make calls, visit a web address, and more, without having to type anything. The Firefly technology reads QR codes, recognizes songs, and even identifies nearly a quarter million movies and TV episodes. This unique feature identifies over 100 million items so you can learn useful information or take action (such as purchase the item) within seconds. The Fire 0S 3.6.5 update also enables you to identify famous artwork (complete with Wikipedia information) and translate text.

Where does the Fire hide all these fancy features? The Firefly button is the bottom button located under the Volume buttons on the left side of the Fire phone (see Figure 1). Press and hold down the Firefly button, even from the lock screen. Note: The Firefly button doubles as the Camera button, so if you press it once without holding, you'll access the Camera app. That's a useful feature, too. We'll get to that in a minute.

Many Uses for Printed Text

Firefly makes it easy for you to scan text, including phone numbers, email messages, and websites. When Firefly is active, you'll notice "firefly lights" moving around onscreen. The text Firefly identifies is highlighted on the display (see Figure 2).

Once scanned, the text appears in a label at the bottom of the screen. Tap the label of a phone number to place a call or create a contact. Tap an email address or website label to send email, visit that website, or collect the selected information as a contact.

Identifying Famous Artwork

Firefly can recognize 2,000 famous paintings and supply any available information about them on Wikipedia. Press the Firefly button and focus on the painting. If Firefly can identify the image, it plays a chime and display a label at the bottom of the screen with the name of the artist and the piece. Tap the label to learn more about the painting. Sometimes more than one tab appears, providing offerings for accessing more information or buying related products (see Figure 3).

Your Fire phone also has the ability to translate text between English and Spanish, French, German, and Italian. You must activate this Firefly feature before you can use it. Press the Firefly button (without pointing at anything). With Firefly running onscreen, open the left panel by dragging from the far left side to the right. Tap the Text & Translation setting to the ON position (see Figure 4).

Close the left panel by dragging it back to the left. The Text icon now appears at the top of the screen (it looks several horizontal lines, as shown in Figure 5).

Press and hold on the Text icon to open the Text Translation screen. Tap the type of translation you want to use (see Figure 6). The Text Translation screen automatically closes, and you're ready to scan.

Point the camera at the text you want to translate, and then tap the Text icon again. The screen display turns black-and-white, and the text being analyzed remains in color (see Figure 7).

After Firefly identifies the text, the translation appears onscreen along with other options, such as copying the text to the clipboard to paste it into another app, or using the Silk browser to search for the specified text (see Figure 8).

It's important to note here that the Text and Translation feature of Firefly is experimental, which means you may experience incorrect text identifications and translations. If you have problems with Firefly's translation, use the Send Us Feedback option to help Amazon perfect this feature.

Identify Media and Other Products for Information or Purchase

You can scan objects, music, and TV shows with Firefly to gain more information about them. Firefly also gives you a direct link to buy a scanned item that's available on Amazon.com.

Press the Firefly button. To identify a song, TV show, or physical product, hold your phone near the source, and then tap the music icon (a pair of musical notes) to identify a song, or tap the video icon (it looks like a flat-screen TV) to identify a movie or TV show (see Figure 9).

To identify an object, point your phone's camera toward it, tap the image of the product onscreen to specify the location to scan, and then wait. A label appears at the bottom of the screen if Firefly can identify the product (see Figure 10). If you point toward a barcode, Firefly might be able to focus on it without any need to tap to specify the location. If Firefly doesn't identify the product on the first attempt, try again. If the scan was successful, tap the label for additional options, such as a direct link to purchase the product.

Firefly keeps a history of past items you scanned, whether they were physical products, music, TV shows, or movies. Pull up from the bottom of the Firefly screen to see the history of products scanned. Firefly offers several options for what to do next (see Figure 11):

  • Tap Shop Amazon to purchase the item.
  • The Share This Identification option enables you to share the item via Email, Facebook, Bluetooth, Messaging, and other communications apps you may have installed on your Fire phone.
  • Tap View Original Photo to view the image you took of the product.
  • Choose Send Us Feedback to submit comments to Amazon regarding your Firefly experience.
  • Tap Delete from History to remove the item from your Firefly history.

Summary

The Fire phone's Firefly feature provides a quick and easy way to scan products to learn more about them and (if desired) buy them on Amazon.com. Firefly has helped me to expand my music library tremendously, with just a few taps. I've scanned many items for purchase and found Firefly to be very accurate. I particularly like using this feature for price comparisons when in "big box" stores and for quick access to customer reviews. It's not completely perfect; the language translation is a work in progress, and sometimes only partially translates the text. However, Amazon periodically pushes out updates for the Fire OS, further improving many of these helpful Fire phone features.

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.

Overview


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information


To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.

Surveys

Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.

Newsletters

If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information


Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.

Security


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.

Children


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.

Marketing


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information


If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.

Choice/Opt-out


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information


Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents


California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure


Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.

Links


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact


Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice


We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020