Just weeks ago, Google unveiled a polished up version of Product Search for Android handsets. Near the tail-end of the post, we postulated that Google would add barcode scanning support to Product Search soon. Such services have already proven quite popular on Android already, with the success of applications like ShopSavvy and CompareEverywhere.
Sure enough, Google is announcing this morning that Google Product Search for Android now has barcode scanning support. If you’re looking to price compare a product that’s right in front of you, why type out its name and dig through irrelevant results when you can just scan the barcode?
The Android browser doesn’t natively support barcode scanning, so support comes by way of the standalone Barcode Scanner application. This is one of Android’s secret weapons at work here. By way of a fancy system called “Intents”, Android is able to pass data, such as the results of a barcode scan, to and from third-party applications without significant guidance from the user. The Android browser calls upon the Barcode Scanner, which utilizes the handset’s built in camera to scan for UPC/ISBN codes. The data from the barcode is then passed back through to the browser and, in turn, Product Search.
Google indicates that Product Search’s barcode index currently works best with electronics, books, movies and video games, though they promise to expand quickly. We’ll take their word for it – if there’s one thing Google’s good at, it’s indexing.