November 1, 2010, 10:48 AM

Android app cuts down on local shopping leg work

The free Yellowbook Android app uses bar code scanning to search local inventory and prices.

Katie Evans

Managing Editor, International Research

Lead Photo

The updated Android app lets shoppers scan a bar code and check local stores for product pricing and availability

Local listings company Yellowbook is on a mission to end fruitless shopping trips. It’s updated its free app for smartphones using Google Inc.’s Android software with a feature that checks product prices and inventory at nearby stores.

To use the new feature, shoppers scan a bar code of a product or enter a search term and the app uses the geolocation capabilities built into the Android device to detect a shopper’s location and show her local product inventory and prices. The pricing and inventory information comes from Milo.com, which says it maintains a database of more than 3 million products and has access to inventory at more than 50,000 stores at participating merchants, including national retailers such as Best Buy, Nordstrom, Target and Toys "R" Us. Yellowbook has also added Milo.com’s local inventory and pricing technology to its web site.

Yellowbook’s earlier app only delivered business listings and phone numbers for local stores—not product inventory and pricing—and did not include bar code scanning. The company says it plans to launch a similar app for Apple Inc.’s iPhone and iPod Touch devices soon.

Milo.com also just launched its own local search app for Android devices, although its app does not offer bar code scanning. Like Yellowbook, Milo plans to launch an iPhone version of the app in the next few months.

Several companies have recently announced they are integrating Milo.com’s local pricing and inventory search functions into their web sites or mobile apps. Earlier this month, Milo announced a partnership with comparison shopping site Pricegrabber.com. When shoppers go to PriceGrabber.com and search for an item, they'll see a Check Local Availability button at the bottom of the results if the item is available locally. Clicking that button returns local results powered by Milo.

Also this month, Milo announced its local inventory and pricing technology is being used in Consumer Reports’ new bar code scanning app for the iPhone that offers access to the publication’s content and product reviews. That app costs $9.99 per year and will rise to $14.99 Jan. 1.

 

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