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Klarna launches AI image recognition tool for shopping

The Swedish “buy now, pay later” pioneer said Tuesday that its new design would help users find the items they want by using more advanced AI recommendation algorithms, while merchants will be able to target customers more effectively.

Rafael Henrique | SOPA Images | LightRocket via Getty Images

Swedish technology startup Klarna is looking to take on big U.S. tech giants with its own artificial intelligence-powered image recognition tool to help people find products they want to buy.

The feature, which Klarna rolled out Wednesday, will enable users to point their phone at an item of clothing or an electronics product and find results for similar items directly within the Klarna app.

It’s similar to how Google Lens directs users to suggestions based on items captured by their camera.

The tool is trained on data from PriceRunner, a price comparison service Klarna acquired for close to $1 billion.

PriceRunner competes with the likes of Amazon, Google’s shopping comparison service Google Shopping, and French-founded firm Kelkoo.

We see AI as a huge opportunity for Klarna and the way we are approaching it is to provide everyone at Klarna with the tools and support to use AI in their day-to-day jobs,” David Sandstrom, Klarna’s chief marketing officer, told CNBC.

“Our unique operating model gives us the agility to take advantage of emerging opportunities that deliver superior consumer benefits, such as AI, faster than sprawling traditional banks and credit card companies.”

Klarna users will be able to point their phone at an item of clothing or gadget and find recommendations on similar products directly within the Klarna app.


Sandstrom said the appeal of Klarna’s image recognition tech over Google is that Klarna is focusing more specifically on a shopping experience rather than pointing users toward more general search results on the web.

AI push

Still, regulators, not least the European Union, have become wary about the rapid advancement of generative AI technology, which generates new material in response to human inputs.

Sandstrom urged Europe not to risk falling behind in the global race toward AI.

“I still have my hopes up when it comes to Europe,” he told CNBC. “I think we take a lot of inspiration on what is coming out of China. They have their benefits when it comes to progress there.”

“A lot is obviously happening in Silicon Valley as well, but there is no rational reason why Europe should be behind.”

“I also think the world in general needs to lean into AI and start working with it and see where it can go right and where it can go wrong before passing judgment,” Sandstrom added. “Currently, I think it’s way too premature.”

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