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Google targets iPhone users with shopping app

The Google Shopper application, previously only available for Android handsets, is now available for Apple’s iPhone.

Last November, the search giant announced that Google Shopper for Android had surpassed 2.5 million downloads. Now also available as a free download in the App Store, Google Shopper is a shopping assistant that lets consumers learn more about products and read relevant user reviews, compare prices at online and local stores, and save and share products for later consideration.

“As with many of our other products, our goal is to get useful technology into the hands of users and then continue to improve on it,” said Vivek Tata, associate product marketing manager at Google, Mountain View, CA. “We are excited to be bringing Google Shopper for iPhone and plan to add some exciting features in the coming months.

“We are running mobile and other advertising to get the word out about Google Shopper,” he said. “While we cannot speak to specific numbers, the most recent public figure we stated for the Android app was from mid-November—over 2.5 million downloads—and it has grown since then.”

Google Shopper is designed to help consumers with the shopping process.

The application helps shoppers find information on millions of products.

Google Shopper recognizes products by cover art, bar code, voice and text search.

Users can find local and online prices, reviews, specifications and videos to help them make the best purchasing decision.

With one click, consumers can save items to their shopping list and share with their friends.

For example, say a consumer is planning a Valentine’s Day meal, but he needs a cast-iron skillet to get the recipe just right.

With Shopper, the consumer can find one by typing in “cast iron skillet” or saying aloud it using Voice Search.

Then, from the results, he can choose a specific product that appeals to him.

Alternatively, if the consumer were in the store and wanted to see product reviews, he could also scan the bar code of a particular product.

Once users have selected a product result, they can compare prices across Web retailers and find where they can buy the item nearby, which is intended for consumers who are last-minute shoppers.

For some retailers, the application also provides inventory information, so users can see if a particular store branch has the item in stock, has limited availability or if the item is out of stock and they should head to a different store.

If users are not sure about making a purchase or are building out a gift list, they can “star” products for future consideration.

Consumers can also share items with friends across their social network to let them know about products they love or deals they have found.

Google Shopper is available for iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 with iOS 4.0+ in English only for the United States and Britain.

Google declined to discuss any specifics related to its monetization tactics for the application.

“If you think of a mobile phone as portable, personal Internet, you can see how important the development of mobile technology is for consumers and retailers,” Mr. Tata said.

“Mobile phones help users learn more about what they are buying—from specifications to pricing—in an instant, and are a great channel for retailers to reach potential customers,” he said.

Final Take
Daniel Switkin, senior software engineer, Google