Gadgets & Gizmos

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Google launches Shopper app for iPhone

2

February

Google has launched their Google Shopper app for the iPhone, giving iOS users the same capabilities the Android crowd has had for almost a year. The slick app lets you search for products by text, voice or image search and also includes a nifty local search feature that not only looks for products in local stores but also tells you which stores have the items in stock. The image search feature not only lets you scan barcodes for price comparisons but also will work based on an image of the packaging itself, like the front of a box or the cover of a book. This method is not as reliable, however, because the database of images is not broad enough to cover all products.

The search function works best if you narrow your search terms to a certain brand or product. I was looking for the Vizio 7-inch LCD TV, for instance, and first searched "Vizio LCD TV" which brought up more than 7,000 results. I then added "7-inch" and that narrowed the results to 27 items with the Vizio at top and similar items of different brands, below.

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Selecting the Vizio product and choosing from the "Online" and "Local" buttons at the bottom showed me my purchasing choices. A "Reviews" button gave me quick access to product reviews from various sources and the "Details" button gave me comprehensive specs on the item. If I had to choose one word for this app, comprehensive is the one. This things gives you tons information in the palm of your hand and will save you time and money by helping you make good buying choices.

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Goggle continues to provide great tools for the mobile user. My only complaint is that they keep producing more and more individual apps when it seems they could combine some to save on iOS screen real estate. Right now I have Google Mobile, Earth, Places, Voice, Books, Latitude and now Shopper installed on my iPhone 4. It's getting to the point where one whole page will be Google apps. Yeah, I know we can do folders now, but these Google apps are the type I like to have right out there on the first page, ready to go. So lets hope they can combine some of them into a big Google Swiss Army app knife in the future.

[Last modified: Wednesday, February 2, 2011 3:51pm]

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