Google’s keen on helping you find whatever it is you’re looking for, and this time of year you’re probably looking for bargains. The launch of Google Offers in the Android Market is a bold move against competitors like Groupon, aggregating the best of the daily deals alongside a personalized (and localized) management service. Deals are making their way into several Android apps, including Lucky magazine’s new personal shopper tool, the updated Microsoft Bing search app and news junket Urban Gossip, which just rolled out version 3.0 of its app.
Google Offers (Free)
Google Offers is a one-stop shop for daily deals. It pools the best of deals, from DoodleDeals to Gilt City, PopSugar and many more. Search for local deals, save your favorites and redeem your discount on site without having to print anything at home. You can purchase deals using your Google Checkout account, and receive alerts for deals of interest. From this free Android app you can also manage your deals, create a personalized profile for recommendations and view your past and current activity for your account. The idea is for Google to not only help you find nearby locations, but save you money at local venues as well.
Lucky Shopper (Free)
Keeping with trends, Lucky magazine has launched a personal shopping app to help you save money and find the best deals. Combining a price comparison tool, a tagging feature and sharing capabilities, you’ll also get access to Lucky Breaks exclusive deals and local shopping tips. The app works similarly to the magazine, encouraging you to tag items you like. Use the barcode scanner to compare prices, store product photos and share your wishlist and purchased items. The sharing feature is designed to help you get feedback on items from friends, but also help you discover new products and trends. From Conde Nast, Lucky Shopper joins a growing list of fellow magazine-spun apps for Android, including Epicurious, Golf Digest and The New Yorker.
Bing may be the competitor’s search app, but as search becomes more personalized, Microsoft’s determined to give everyone access on every mobile device possible. There’s several upgraded features for the Bing Android app, including a dynamic way to sync a list (i.e. business listings) with the Map view, as well as real-time transit routes and news. But one of the most enticing new features is the integration of Deals, aggregating local offers from its 100+ partners across the nation. Bing’s web search had already included a deals feature, spinning off a special search tab for finding discounts. The inclusion of Deals in the mobile app means you can see local deals on a map, marking it fierce competition for Google Offers.
Urban Gossip (Free)
Niche news reader Urban Gossip has pushed through a major update with new sharing capabilities, improved search, and of course deals. These deals are a little more specialized for Urban Gossip users, providing a targeted option for businesses looking for an alternative to Google and Microsoft’s shotgun approach. Deals come from sponsored and aggregated partners. Another notable new feature is Urban Gossip TV, delivering the musings of celebrity culture from accross the United States.
Yahoo! Weather (Free)
Yahoo! Weather has been updated for Android, with some cool additions like scenic photos and handy widgets. There’s at-a-glance forecasts, current conditions and weather-related photos from Flickr. In fact, the images are a nice touch to the app, making it more dynamic with the extra visual interest. And the widget even lets you add the image to your home screen. Add several locations to track, which you can thumb through quickly with a swipe to the right or left. Other widget options let you pull up the extended forecast, which will redirect you to the Yahoo! Weather site.
Another Siri-like app for Android, Skyvi is a personal assistant app that’s powered by the collective Internet. It’s essentially a search tool, interacting through voice recognition and spoken feedback. Ask for nearby locations or just for information on a given topic, and Skyvi will respond with a touch of personality, and maybe a joke or two. Its productivity capabilities are limited compared to Siri, but there is Facebook and Twitter integration for sending out updates using voice commands and speech recognition. Apps like Skyvi have become novelties for Android (and iOS), but they all contribute to the ongoing improvement of AI.