Apr 23rd, 2009

So you’re at a store looking at a lava lamp at Spencer Gifts and are wondering if you should buy it. Can I get it somewhere cheaper? Is this product/brand reliable or will it break in a couple months? Personally, I’ve been using ShopSavvy and Compare Everywhere to find my answers. But often these applications come up with no results and/or no product reviews. Enter Google Product Search for Mobile.


First of all, give the creators of ShopSavvy and Compare Everywhere a lot of credit… they’ve built awesome products that easily eclipse Google Product Search for Mobile in terms of features. But what Google DOES have that these apps don’t is critical mass. They have immediate access to one of the largest inventories of products on the planet. Until now, when one of the barcode scanning apps didn’t find anything good I would either:

  1. Search google for the product name review
  2. Search amazon for the product and read customer reviews

Now not only will searching Google be an awesome alternative to these barcode apps, but it could become the primary go-to app due to this critical mass. I’m not sure just yet, I’ll have to give it a whirl and see. While I dive in, watch this quick video about Google Product Search for Mobile:

At the end of the video they suggest searching “just about anything” in which they include Books, DVDs, Video Games and electronics. Funny thing is… I never had problems with any of these product categories on my existing apps. What if I try 3 random product categories? Lets try lava lamp, baseball glove and tube socks. Don’t ask me where I got these ideas… I’m a random kind of guy:

  • Lava Lamp. Success in listing items for sale but they were not accompanied by product reviews.
  • Baseball Glove. Success in listing items for sale but they were not accompanied by product reviews.
  • Tube Socks. Success/Fail – see above.

So it seems to work for finding broad product categories but I can’t seem to find these user reviews as shown in the video. What if I search for a very specific product? Last month I was in BestBuy deciding on a USB headset/microphone and faced this very problem. I googled the exact product name so I’ll redo that same search with Google Product Search for Mobile. The search term was “Microsoft LifeChat LX-3000”:

And sure enough I’ve got 2 specific products listed at the top from a combined 127 sellers and it comes with product reviews as well. I suppose the items in test round 1 simply didn’t  have enough volume of user input to warrant showing “reviews”. I mean, if you review Tube Socks you’ve got to be pretty weird in the first place. In fact, I would prefer to see what those people recommended so I could choose the opposite.

Google Product Search for Mobile only works for Android and iPhones at the moment but I would expect that expand over time. For now, when you’re in a store and about to make a purchase or trying to decide which item to purchase, you’ve got another weapon in your mobile arsenal. And a rather good one at that.

[Via Google Mobile Blog & Google Blog]

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