We, at MakeUseOf.com believe in the idea of saving. Usually, it is time and effort as we give you tips and tales of the best technology offerings out there. But sometimes, we try to save you some hard green bucks too. That’s when we come across a cool application that helps you to win at online shopping or passing the message about real world sales tactics.
There are dime a dozen tools that watch out for the next price drop or a bargain grab. From price notifications to deal hunting, browser extensions and add-ons have been a favorite for long. In this brief article, we will take a look at a handy Firefox add-on called Booly which could qualify for a try out as shopping accessory.
Turn Your Search Engine into a Shopping Basket
You can think of Booly as a search enhancer or a search augmenter. The Booly browser add-on intelligently watches over your search and boosts it up with real time price comparisons, latest coupon codes and money saving deals. Booly tracks your shopping search across search engines like Amazon, Google, Yahoo, Bing and Blekko.
You can expect to get the best real-time price gathering and deal finding updates from top retailers in the U.S. and U.K. (Yes, shopping info is limited to these countries only for now. Australia and Europe will be covered soon), and across thousands of product categories. Booly has its own database on retailers and it has also tied-in with retail intelligence companies like Shopzilla and Shopping.com for price comparisons (with coupons and deal alerts).
Going Shopping With Booly
Booly is available as a browser extension for Firefox, Chrome, and Internet Explorer. We are focusing on the Firefox add-on for the purpose here, but all of them work in the same manner. The manner of Booly’s working is easily understood by the walkthrough of the deal-hunting process Booly puts us through after the add-on is installed.
Save With the Help of Booly’s Price Bar
As soon as you do your search, the blue bar pops up after a second or two and tells you if the product you are shopping for is cheaper elsewhere, or this is the best price you can expect to get. In some cases, you can also view similar items and also search for more products by clicking the green search button. You can retract the blue price notification bar to the extreme right of the browser and keep it unobtrusive till you need it again.
The shopping window displays all the prices, relevant savings, deals and coupons if any, and of course a direct button to the sites where you can grab all of these. The same shopping window also gives you a study in price comparison across popular retailers. Thus, you can make a more informed choice.
Bargain Hunting With Your Favorite Search Engine
Search for a product on your shopping list using regulars like Google or Bing. Booly powers up the search with the help of colored Booly icons to indicate potential savings. As the screen above shows, you might get coupon information related to the product right on top of the search result. You can click on it to reveal a few more details.
You can also get to the deals by clicking on the green icon next to the search results. Remember, a Green tag indicates that only deals and coupons have been found. A Red tag casts a wider net and could mean that Boo.ly has found favorable price comparisons for the product, possibly with related deals and coupons for that merchant. A red tag is obviously better because it gives you a few more price options.
Bargain Hunting With Friends
I would advise you to keep the news about a potential saving to yourself…you never know, there might be limited stocks available. But if you are the unselfish kind and want to crow about the bargain, make the social sharing buttons work for you. There’s nothing like a deal or a sale to make the world a happier place.
So, Is It A Good Deal?
Booly is fairly unobtrusive. I don’t have to feed it extra data, and it does not feed on mine except what I am searching for. You don’t have to change your search behavior, but just look for the red or green tag for the price info. Booly of course does not succeed every time and there are instances when it will not get you a price comparison or a bargain even on a shopping site like Amazon and for a common product like a leather folio tablet case. That is a bit frustrating because you would want instantaneous results from a search engine add-on always. This is one area where Booly really has to smoothen things out. As a shopper you don’t want to be kept waiting – online or offline. Though, when it does, it goes a long way in helping you make certain that you aren’t getting ripped off.
I couldn’t gather the entire list of online retailers Booly pings for price comparisons, but from what I could get, it does seem that it is dominated by the bigger players. Smaller niche retailers are given a miss.
I would also wish it to have a shopping list feature that would allow me to save the results for a later time. Booly is real-time while you may want some time to deliberate and come back to your shopping later.
So, what did the first run with Booly and an item on your wish list tell you? Do you think there’s money to be saved out there with some smart shopping? Is Booly one of the better decision support applications when it comes to shopping and deal-hunting? Thumbs up for Booly put it on our Best Firefox Add-ons page. There are specialized shopping tools especially for Amazon. So, does it deserve a place there or is there a comparison engine that’s better than Booly?