The new feature follows on from Amazon's Show and Tell, which helps Echo owners with limited vision to hold up a common grocery item and be told by Alexa what it is, using the Echo Show's camera.
Now, when you're about to throw out the empty packaging of something from the kitchen, all you have to do is say: "Alexa, scan this to my shopping list," and the camera fires into life. You're then asked to align the product's barcode with a guide on the screen, before the camera grabs a scan, recognizes the item, and adds it to your shopping list.
The system works for any product with an industry-standard barcode on its packaging, but we think the most useful feature here is adding food items and other household consumables to your shopping list before throwing or recycling the packaging away.
If Alexa can't recognize the barcode (perhaps because it is damaged or obscured) you can describe the item instead to add it to your list.
The Amazon Echo Show 5Amazon
It's a nice time-saving feature from Amazon, as previous Echo users wanting to shop with Alexa have had to say exactly items they want. Instead of merely asking for more milk, they've had to specify the exact size, brand and type of milk. Scanning the barcode is likely going to be quicker in this case, and ensure you add exactly the right item to your list.
We think smart displays of this size have always been most at home in the kitchen, as Amazon's smaller Echo Dot with Clock or Echo Spot work best on the bedside table.
Meanwhile, larger smart displays like the Echo Show and Nest Hub work best in the kitchen, where they deliver useful information like weather reports, cooking recipes, and can be used to watch video while you cook or eat.
Echo Show 5 - Compact smart display with Alexa - Charcoal