Google Android app ShopSavvy could be huge

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ShopSavvy on the G1ShopSavvy, formerly known as GoKart, is a comparison-shopping application that runs on Google Android. It is one of the winners in the Google Android Developer Challenge. A press release can only explain so much. Big In Japan, makers of ShopSavvy, gave me a personal demonstration of this new app. I then got a chance to speak to Rylan Barnes, “Tech Shogun,” who gave Gadgetell a behind the scenes look at how the software works and where they want to take the app in the future.

ShopSavvy: The App

The application is incredibly simple. The main event is the price comparison stuff; so let’s hit that first. This is unlike other applications that read barcodes. Other applications take a photo then compare the photo to a library of codes.

ShopSavvy uses the G1’s camera and it reads the barcode. There is no photo being taken and then being uploaded. The code is either read or it’s not. If ShopSavvy can read the code, expect nearly 100% accurate results.

Find the right price

ShopSavvy will search for the price of the product online and show you a rundown of prices so you can comparison shop. You also get access to product reviews to help you out.

Wish lists and price alerts

You can create wish lists by scanning barcodes or just typing in a title or keyword in the app. See an item you like but think it costs too much? Name your price and have ShopSavvy tell you when that product hits your price.

Autofocus to the rescue

Scanning the barcode is easy. The Big in Japan guys used the open source ZXing (pronounced “Zebra Crossing”) barcode reader in their application. Rylan Barnes told me that he used ZXing to allow the fixed camera lens to change focal length in software since the G1 does not have a focus control.

What does that mean? Simply put, you don’t have to bring the camera near then far from you until you get the lens to focus. Just get the barcode in the camera’s sights and ShopSavvy will get the camera to autofocus. Have you ever tried to focus up close with an iPhone? If you have, you get why this is so cool.

The future?

The Big in Japan guys want to build partnerships with retailers. Here is the scenario they imagine. You go into a brick and mortar store and see an item. You use ShopSavvy and find out you could get a better price elsewhere.

The retailer/partner who works with Big in Japan would offer a price match or lower price and send that info to your Android phone. When you go up to the register, just swipe the barcode from your phone.

I’ve got to say, that is a very cool scenario. I’m sure I am not the only one who would love to dispense with delayed gratification and be able to pick up an item in a store at a competitive price.

In case the price-matching plan does not pan out, Big in Japan is also looking to bring one-click shopping to your pocket. These sound like great ideas and I am excited to see what they do next.

Check out [Big in Japan]

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  • streetstylz

    NeoMedia has a patent that covers this technology

    Patent #6,651,053 — Interactive system for investigating products on a network

    An interactive search system for use with a global computer network, e.g., the Internet, using a search identifying barcode to rapidly and effectively obtain a supply of related information for presentation to a user. A computer, either landline based or mobile, may be used to input a UPC code, taken from a package or advertisement or prestored in the computer, to an implementing server on the network. The server contains a database of product and manufacturer identifying UPC codes and uses the input UPC code and the database to identify the manufacturer and is programmed to then perform a search of the network to locate sites relating to or operated by the manufacturer. Also, the server may search the network on a product basis to locate other sites containing the UPC under search. Using “parsing” technology, the server “pulls out” the product description, transmits it to and places it in a random access memory (RAM) or storage of the computer, and proceeds to perform further searching relying on the product description to uncover relevant information. Accordingly, using a single input, a collection of product-related and manufacturer information is quickly assembled in the computer available for a user’s consideration all at once at any time.

  • Designer sofas

    ShopSavvy is an app for the Android platform that helps you find out more information about a product. With ShopSavvy, you have the ability to find a product based on its barcode or title. This app is very similar to CompareEverywhere in many ways, but does provide different style.

    When searching for a product, you can either use the camera to read the barcode, enter the number in manually, or type out the title. After that, ShopSavvy will search through its database to try and find a listing for that item. If it locates the item, it will provide you with additional information for it.

    Each item you search for is saved in your history but you can also move it over to your wishlist. This is a pretty neat feature that allows you to organize your searches a little bit. If ShopSavvy finds a price drop on any of the items you search, it will list it in your Price Alerts area. This is a great way to find a deal on something you really want.

    With two very similar apps out on launch day, it's really a toss up to see which one takes the lead. ShopSavvy has a different style, interface, and provides price alerts, making it really handy. If you shop a lot, you may want to check this app out.