August 24, 2011, 9:12 AM

Nextag’s radar picks up a smartphone app

Nextag’s Radar product search feature now available in its own app.

Lead Photo

Users can add new items via a search box, scanning a bar code or snapping a photo of the item. The app uses image recognition technology to identify the item.

Consumers using comparison shopping engine Nextag’s Radar feature, which searches for products and alerts consumers to price changes, can now use a mobile app version to add to their Radar shopping lists while out and about.

The Nextag Radar app lets consumers search for products by typing text into a search box or by scanning a bar code using a smartphone’s camera. They also can add items to their Radar lists by taking a photo of an item or even a person. The Radar mobile app uses image recognition technology to identify the product and initiate a search, says Bahman Koohestani, Nextag vice president of product and technology. A search based on a picture of a woman, for example, returns women’s tops. The imaging technology recognizes female characteristics and instructs the search engine to display products oriented towards women.

The Radar app relies on the shopping engine’s core Nextag Mobile app to display the search results. Once an item has been identified within the Radar app, a button appears asking if the user wants to see the results in the Nextag Mobile app. The Radar app then automatically closes and opens up the Mobile app. From the results in the Mobile app, a user can select an item to buy from a participating retailer’s e-commerce or, if available, m-commerce site.

The consumer also can access her Radar results on a desktop computer and complete her shopping on an e-commerce site. Consumers create a Nextag account at Nextag.com and set up a Radar list that is accessible via the app.

Nextag has a third app, Deal Force, for finding local deals. All three apps are available for the iPhone, and the Mobile app also is available for Android devices.

Koohestani says the multiple-app strategy, each one having a specific purpose, reflects how consumers use their smartphones. “Consumers usually go to their mobile devices to achieve a specific task,” Koohestani says. A consumer would have to sort through all sorts of unnecessary functions to find the one he wanted if one app included all of the functions of the three Nextag apps, he says.

The Radar app enables Nextag to learn which products its users are interested in. And “it gives us the ability to push data to users who are searching for products but not necessarily finding them at the right price,” Koohestani says.

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