Google Shopper for iPhone Free for Product Comparisons

Google Shopper for iPhone launches to bring the tens of millions of iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 users access to a free product-comparison application.

Google Feb. 1 launched Google Shopper for iPhone, months after unveiling the mobile shopping assistant on its own Android platform.

Google Shopper lets users search for products by text or voice input, choose a specific product that looks useful, and compare prices at online and local retailers-all from their Android handset or iPhone.

Users who are actually in a store where they find the product can scan the bar code of a product using their mobile phone's camera to retrieve more information, including pricing and other specifications.

Google Shopper will also provide inventory information from participating retailers so users can see if a particular store branch has the item in stock, availability is limited or the item is out of stock.

Shoppers who aren't sold on a particular product can "star" products for future purchase, or share items with friends via their social network to alert them of particular sales or deals.

Google made the Shopper application available as a free download in Apple's App Store for the tens of millions of owners of the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 in the United States and the United King (iOS 4.0+ is required).

That came after millions of consumers downloaded Google Shopper for Android, which the company upgraded Nov. 15 as part of its Product Search roll-out.

Specifically, the search engine partnered with more than 70 retailers and software makers such as Oracle, JDA and Epicor to index inventory of local Best Buys and other outlets. These software makers then provided special adapters to funnel retailers' inventory data to Google Product Search.

Consumers searching Google Product Search can click the "nearby stores" link to see where products are in stock at participating stores near their location. Then they can purchase it online or drive to that store to size up the product to better decide if they want to buy it.

While a far cry from challenging or eBay for their e-commerce mantles, Google is placing an increased focus on product search, particularly at the local level where millions of advertising dollars are untapped.

The company is slowly rolling out its Google Offers service to provide Groupon-like local deals.