Google Shopper: Android for Frugal

Google Shopper is the recently unleashed application for Android-powered phones from Google Mobile Labs.  It promises to easily look up specifications, find reviews and compare prices to better assist consumers with finding the best deal on whatever they might be ‘shopping’ for.

So far, the common sentiment among users is that Shopper is extremely similar to Google Goggles in that it uses the phone’s camera to read a barcode or recognize cover art on books, CDs, DVDs and games; however a closer inspection reveals that instead of running a standard search, it performs a ‘Google Product Search’ (same search as selecting ‘Shopping’ on the google home-screen).  Google Shopper also is capable of voice recognition which is handy when the product you are looking for isn’t readily available.  Simply speak the name of the product you are looking for and Shopper will do the rest.  As an added treat, when you want to let someone know where the best deal is for that present on your wish-list, Shopper allows you to ‘share’ products with your friends through various social media and messaging services.

Hands on, this application is useful but no game changer.  Searching for software and books in every test works exactly as described: cd cover scanning through Shopper is quick and comes back with pricing and product info in a matter of seconds. Oddly enough, using Shopper to scan the barcode on my Motorola Droid Car Mount which was purchased from big V fails with an error saying that shopper did not find any products with this barcode. You can witness this behavior in this video.

Even in it’s beta form, people are finding good uses for this app, one poster going by ‘Adam’ on the Google Mobile Blog thought it “will help when at used book stores looking for rare books and vinyl records to resell.”  To download Google Shopper to your Android phone, search for “Shopper” on Android Market or scan the barcode below.