Google announced yesterday that it has optimized Google Product Search for iPhones and Android. Google Product Search (manifestation of Froogle) allows users to compare products, prices and reviews. The move to mobile is a smart one, given increased use of mobile devices for things like product search.
But this “porting” over to mobile is probably only the first step. All Google has really done is optimize the interface for a smaller screen. It will need to tweak the functionality further to be more fitting to the mobile use case. Given that the device goes with you to the point of purchase, I expect we’ll see more features to “find it locally.”
We’ve seen this already from NearbyNow and TheFind, which have iPhone apps that tap into retail point-of-sale inventory systems. NearbyNow acquires these data directly from retail partners and Krillion does something similar (both power TheFind’s app). Watch these companies — the value of these data sources will grow.
Not to totally downplay the utility of this version of Google’s mobile shopping search: It can still be used to check reviews, technical specs and general price ranges when you’re standing in front of the store shelf. But it could be more valuable if it told you where lower prices can be found nearby, and who has what in stock.
Taking it a step further, the current feature set could really be unleashed if it integrates bar code reading software. This is something we’ll likely see if rumors are true that a bar code scanner will be baked into the next version of the iPhone (input currently possible via camera). When it comes to Apple product rumors, you never know.