Google Shopper

It seems as though every day, or at least every week, Google is releasing a new Android application. No doubt this is a result of Google’s famous 20% rule that empowers their engineers to work on any projects they are interested in. Much of what is in Google Labs is a result of that rule. Today Google Labs released Google Shopper, which is an interesting entrant into the shopping application market given that there are already several other shopping apps, including ShopSavvy, which won Google’s first Android Developer Contest. The following video gives an overview of how the program works:

Video courtesy of Google

Voice recognition is the most useful of the input methods because it allows you to search for any product. Barcode scanning will also work for just about anything, but in some cases barcodes are not easy to get to, which makes the voice input so useful. In my testing, image recognition only worked with books, CDs, and DVDs. I used voice input to search for the Google Nexus One Phone, and I was amused to find Shopper return a result from Samstores higher than Google’s own store for the phone.

Search results include prices from most online retailers. When you tap a listed item the Android browser launches to display the retailer’s shopping page. Product reviews are also pulled from all of the retailers that sell that particular product, though I found book reviews mostly coming from Amazon.

Because the program is part of Google Labs, that means it is an experimental application, it may or may not continue to exist and Google may or may not make improvements. It does a good job of leveraging other Google technologies that are becoming a part of Android, but other vendors should be able to leverage the same technologies in their products. If you are a fan of ShopSavyv, or even the Amazon Android application, you probably won’t drop those applications for it, but for the moment Google Shopper has the most input methods of any of the shopping applications.