TheFind launched its “Where to Shop” application in the iTunes App Store today. I’ve been using it a bit this morning and it has held up to the test for some product searches around town (see screen shots below).
This is essentially the mobile manifestation of the product inventory features that Krillion and NearbyNow have brought to online product search. Like TheFind’s online search engine, the iPhone app pulls local inventory data from both of these providers. We talked with CEO Siva Kumar back in August about the app, and reproduced part of that post here (few additional screen shots, now that it’s live).
As we’ve written, the iPhone and its local search apps will bring mobile local search closer to the mainstream and create new standards, sets of expectations and overall comfort levels with searching for things locally on a mobile device. Nowhere is this more conducive than searching for specific products (except maybe restaurants) when out and about and away from your computer.
Part of this proposition has reached mainstream levels online, in terms of product research. But companies like Krillion and NearbyNow have taken this to the next level with actual inventory information for specific items and local outlets. IPhone Apps like Where to Shop will take this an additional step level by enabling the same functionality when users are out shopping.
Many possible scenarios come to mind, such as checking inventory of other stores to see if there are better deals when standing in a given store. You can also imagine the edge this type of application would give during those cliche holiday season scenarios when cutthroat competition to get that hot new toy sends legions of parents frenetically driving around town and getting into fights.
But during the rest of the year, it can still be seen as a good local utility and something that will be wrapped up in the iPhone’s changing standards on the mobile device world, and assimilation of mobile local search.
Meanwhile, for TheFind, this could drive awareness for its online search engine and serve the parallel marketing purpose of putting it on the map. This has been one of the benefits seen by local search companies that have created iPhone apps such as UrbanSpoon.
Siva Kumar will present this app in an iPhone demo session at the Kelsey Group’s ILM ’08 conference coming up next month in Santa Clara, Ca.