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SnaptellI don’t remember the last time I just barged into a brick and mortar store and purchased something on a whim. I like to research before buying almost anything and most of my research is done online. When I’m in a store looking at a product I’m interested in, I like to know the price it is available for online, and the reviews – they help me make a quicker decision.

When was the last time you were in a brick and mortar store checking out a book (or a video game) and wondering if it’ll be cheaper to get it online ?

I don’t know about you guys, but this happens with all the time when I’m out shopping.

Just last week, I was at this cool bookshop near my house browsing the shelf looking for a copy of Shantaram (which by the way, is an awesome read). I found it alright but for some reason, I thought the price was a bit more than I thought it should cost. I had my iPhone with me and I could Google the price up but seriously, what’s cool about that?

Instead, armed with my iPhone, I used Snaptell (iTunes Store link).

Snaptell is a cool and free application for the iPhone which uses image recognition to identify photos of books, CD/DVDs and video game covers and tells you their price at various online retailers.

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So in my case, using Snaptell, I took a picture of the front cover of Shantaram in the store. Snaptell then uploaded the image to its servers and within a couple of seconds, told me that the book was available at more or less the same price at Amazon and Barnes & Noble as the bookstore I was at. Obviously, I decided to purchase it there and then, saving me a couple of days and shipping costs.

Snaptell

Of course, this is not the only use of Snaptell. Along with a comparison of products’ prices, Snaptell also displays other useful information: it also links to the Wikipedia entry for the product, if it exists; Google Product search results, results from eBay, Half.com and Yahoo search. If you can’t find the product you’re looking for in all those places, I’m not sure you’ll ever find it online.

Snaptell

So, books aren’t really your scene, eh ? Snaptell is an excellent app to have even if you’re searching the back alleys for DVDs of the latest blockbuster or yesteryears’ hits.

Snap a pic and let Snaptell work its magic. Snaptell also helpfully includes links to reviews from IMDB and RottenTomatoes and search results from YouTube. How’s that for convenience ?

Snaptell

Since Snaptell uploads a photo each time to its servers, the application obviously works best over WIFI but the speed is quite acceptable over cellular networks. Also, since you’ll need to take a photo, this will not work on the iPod Touch.

If books, DVDs and games are your thing AND you’re an online junkie like I am, give Snaptell a try and you won’t be dissappointed. Oh, and the Geek cred that you get will definitely be priceless.

Another good article to help you find good buys online is “5 Online Shopping Sites That Will Actually SAVE You Money 5 Online Shopping Sites That Will Actually SAVE You Money 5 Online Shopping Sites That Will Actually SAVE You Money Read More ” which I wrote not long ago.

How do you normally research about the product you plan to buy? Online or physical store? Share with us in the comments!

  1. iphone app reviews
    October 7, 2009 at 10:33 am

    That is very clever how they can upload the pictures to the server and see results that quickly. I have never been faced with a situation that has made me question a purchasing decision. Christmas is right around the corner though, I am sure it will come in handy then.

  2. John
    June 10, 2009 at 10:22 am

    A very handy tool although I prefer kooaba's app. They offer nicer result pages as well as a web-based library to archive the search results.

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