When shopping meta-search engine Mpire launched their Firefox shopping plugin last year we felt it was one of the best shopping tools to come out in a while. Today, Mpire is offering the plugin for IE7, upgraded their site and launched the newly established Mpire Lab’s first product, a visual shopping site called Shopwave. Mpire is also working with Electric Sheep and Linden Lab to integrate their shopping experience into SecondLife and on an Apollo version that will carry out automated shopping searches.
The revamped site features a cleaner layout along with the same Farecast-style price tracking of the old one, but now includes Amazon and Epinion reviews along with coupons and deals embedded in the search results. The new Shopwave site is a work in progress that tackles the lack of innovation going on in online shopping visualization. We’ve talked about a couple new visualization ideas before. Mpire’s Shopwave doesn’t have as extreme a layout as BrowseGood’s treemap visualization, or as customizable as Like.com’s color and shape driven engine. It instead takes a window shopping approach, where you know what category you want, but maybe not the exact product. If you don’t know exactly how to describe what you’re looking for, Mpire’s new image previews may be worth the thousand words you can’t find.