Appolicious powers Verizon Educational Tools

Android app Shopping.com puts the drudgery back into shopping

by Caitlin M. Foyt

Shopping.com for your Android phone might not be the best price-comparison app in the marketplace, but, it's probably not the worst, either.

What's kind of great about this app is how simple it is. On the app's home screen, there's a Google-style search bar where you can type exactly what it is you're looking for. Tap the "Search" button, and you're on your way.

Underneath this option, there are three tabs that line the bottom of the screen. There's "Home;" "My Shopping," a saved list of recent searches and items you're looking to buy; and "Most Popular," a listing of some of the most frequently bought items in the app's database. Organization is so straightforward that I can't imagine the average person would have difficulty in figuring out where everything goes.

While basic is this app's greatest strength, it's also its weakness. Other similar, though slightly more advanced, apps like Nextag Mobile and ShopSavvy allow you to zero in on exactly what you're looking for by using bar codes. ShopSaavy takes things a step further than just what's available on the Internet by listing all the local retailers that sell the product you're looking for, and where these businesses are located.

Shopping.com also came up short when I put it's search capabilities to the test. Because this app doesn't have a barcode scanner, or the "did you mean x instead of y" searching prompts, you have to do a good job describing exactly what you're looking for. The searches aren't always accurate. I searched "yellow Chuck Taylors," and got a lot of different colors and styles, but not specifically yellow ones. I also noticed that some of the listings didn't include photos of the items.

When I ran a search for "cat toys," I came up with a few catnip-filled and feather-covered toys, but I also got a lot of weird stuff: a child's cat costume, a mother cat with kitten figurine and a red Cat in the Hat chair with matching ottoman were just some examples. The app's search engine reminded me a lot of how Google search used to be several years ago.

Another complaint I have with Shopping.com is that the app crashed several times while I was clicking through search results. It was annoying to have to retype, and then scroll through, search results.

The app clearly has a massive database of information, and you'll probably be able to find something like what you're looking for, but there are certainly other, better price-comparison apps at your disposal.