Google Shopper: Just another Android shopping app?

Google disappoints with a thin clone on the shopping app that could have been so much more straight out the gate.

Jessica Dolcourt Senior Director, Commerce & Content Operations
Jessica Dolcourt is a passionate content strategist and veteran leader of CNET coverage. As Senior Director of Commerce & Content Operations, she leads a number of teams, including Commerce, How-To and Performance Optimization. Her CNET career began in 2006, testing desktop and mobile software for Download.com and CNET, including the first iPhone and Android apps and operating systems. She continued to review, report on and write a wide range of commentary and analysis on all things phones, with an emphasis on iPhone and Samsung. Jessica was one of the first people in the world to test, review and report on foldable phones and 5G wireless speeds. Jessica began leading CNET's How-To section for tips and FAQs in 2019, guiding coverage of topics ranging from personal finance to phones and home. She holds an MA with Distinction from the University of Warwick (UK).
Expertise Content strategy, team leadership, audience engagement, iPhone, Samsung, Android, iOS, tips and FAQs.
Jessica Dolcourt
2 min read
Google Shopper on Android

Like the love child of Barcode Scanner and Google Goggles, Google's new Shopper app for Android (rated review) uses the smartphone's camera to find you deals and steals.

Although you can scan any barcode, Google is positioning Shopper as an entertainment tool to identify CDs, DVDs, and video games from scans of their covers. Google also links up its voice search engine, so you can speak your way into Shopper's database. There is, of course, the arcane typing method, too.

Shopper, a product wrought from Google Labs, predominantly sources its price comparisons (in US currency only) from online stores and large chains like Amazon, Wal-Mart, and Target. The app lets you star favorites and share them online or via e-mail, and it winningly saves a history of your selections for offline referencing.

However, as a tool for converting the scan into a sale, Shopper for Android falls flat. Unlike many other shopping and barcode-scanning competitors for Android (like ShopSavvy, for one), Shopper stops short of pointing out local sources of the item, essentially abandoning you in your quest of acquisition.

It would be so easy for Google to drop in its excellent map and reliable directions engine. And why isn't Google Shopper using the Android phone's built-in GPS to help determine where you are and which brick and mortar stores lurk nearby? The app should--at the very least--sort results from cheapest to priciest, add various other sorting filters, and hyperlink to online stores so you can suss out the competition yourself, or even attempt to buy online right then and there. We know that Google Shopper is in its early stages, but it's a thin showing from a company with so much to offer mobile consumers.