It’s no secret that we are fans of mobile barcode shopping service ShopSavvy here at GoMo News. We’re not alone either: the company has a habit of winning awards for innovation and usefulness (most recently at SXSW). So we were delighted to hear that Nokia itself has recognised ShopSavvy by approaching it to power barcode scanning in Nokia’s Point&Find. We traded some questions and answers with ShopSavvy’s founder, Alex Muse, to get some more details.
First though – what’s Point&Find?
Point&Find is a Mobile Augmented Reality service from Nokia that is still in the beta phase. The premise behind it is simple: point your cameraphone at something, and Nokia will find it for you. But augmented reality search is an incredibly complex task, and Nokia is being something of a perfectionist about this. Every once in a while we get an update about a new beta, or a new service that has been added to Point&Find – but I get the feeling we’ll have to wait until Nokia is good and ready before we see a commercial release of this.
You can see more details about Point&Find and download the beta at the Nokia website here.
Ok. So what’s ShopSavvy?
ShopSavvy is a price comparison application that helps you get the best value for money when you’re out shopping. It does this by scanning the barcode on any item you find in a shop. Using the info from the barcode, ShopSavvy will search for any shop nearby that has the item cheaper, along with providing you with links to places on-line where you can order it. It even gives you directions to nearby stores that also have the item. It’s a one-click comparison shopper that you can keep on your phone. It’s currently one of the biggest selling apps on both iPhone and Android.
So what’s the deal?
Nokia will be incorporating ShopSavvy functions into Point&Find. So if you use Point&Find to scan a barcode, you’re really running your search through ShopSavvy.
Ok, enough background detail. What did Alex Muse have to say?
GoMo: Nokia has become much better recently at aggregating services under the Ovi brand – will this affect ShopSavvy’s release as a separate Ovi app?
Muse: this release is really a pre-cursor to a separate Ovi app. By releasing this version we get a little breather to understand the scope of the European market and Nokia’s penetration there. Once we believe there is a demand and a need for a separate Ovi version of ShopSavvy, you can be sure we will release one.
GoMo: ShopSavvy has a very big footprint in America, while Nokia has a much greater presence in Europe than it does in the States. Will this announcement form part of a drive to gain a better foothold at this side of the Atlantic?
Muse: When Nokia approached our team, I think their amazing penetration in Europe was the initial attraction to consummate a deal. Nokia is the leader in Europe, and we are hopeful that our relationship with them will enable us become as popular there as we are in North America.
GoMo: ShopSavvy has been doing well as a stand-alone app. Is this “built-in” approach with Nokia the start of a new revenue model for Big In Japan?
Muse: Our primary revenue model is focused on selling advertising, based on location and product interest. We are still very much interested in promoting the ShopSavvy brand and application, but we are now attempting to empower developers who wish to incorporate barcode scanning as a feature in their own applications by giving them our scanning technology for free. Our technology is among the first to be offered on multiple platforms including iPhone, Android, Symbian, RIM and Windows Mobile. By allowing developers to incorporate our ad framework alongside our scanning technology, we have created a new revenue opportunity for our company and for the developer — a win-win.
GoMo: Is this something that was accomplished using your recently revealed SDK, or was it a more “hand-in-hand” approach with Nokia?
Muse: We are working very closely with Nokia. Currently we have an NDA covering our relationship, but it is safe to say we are having in depth conversations about our technology.
GoMo: Back in September last year, Nokia announced a similar deal with German barcode company Barcoo. Is ShopSavvy going to be used as a replacement, or will it be working alongside Barcoo?
Muse: Nokia approached ShopSavvy specifically because we are the market leader. There are and will be lots of barcode-powered applications on every platform, especially now that we have provided our SDK at no cost.