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Google Catalogs app: Shop with your fingertips

Free iPad app puts some sparkle into digital catalogs. Search across all catalogs, save faves, and put together product collages to express the creative side of your shopping addiction.

Google Catalogs collage
My Google Catalogs collage brings together Star Wars and Urban Outfitters at last. Screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET

My real-life mailbox still gets jammed full of catalogs. There's always a spark of excitement when opening up the covers, but paper catalogs are disappointingly un-interactive. No matter how hard I poke at the pretty pictures with my fingers, nothing happens.

Google is riding to the rescue with the new Google Catalogs app for tablets. It's exactly what is sounds like--a collection of catalogs from major retailers like Anthropologie, Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn, and Sephora.

Google Catalogs' competition is paper catalogs and retailer Web sites. It one-ups them both by throwing in the ability to search across all catalogs, touch a picture to get product details, save favorite items, and get notifications when a new catalog comes out.

A collage feature lets you pull together your favorite fashions, jewelry, or kitchen utensils in one place. It takes a lot less time and effort than attacking your real catalogs with scissors and glue. You can also share your collages with friends to show off your impeccable--or bizarre--fashion sense.

The app is free and currently only available for the iPad. It wouldn't have the same visual impact on devices with smaller screens. There is room for improvement as far as catalog selection and more navigation options, but it's good enough now that you could safely cancel some of your paper catalog subscriptions and reduce the clutter in your recycling bin.

Google Catalogs app
Google Catalogs makes your iPad look like it just showed up in the mail. Screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET