Google redesigns its shopping app to meet growing ‘showrooming' trend

New additions to Google Shopper aims to make it easier for users to compare online prices with those in physical stores and to track down the latest special offers and discounts based on proximity.

Capitalizing on the growing trend for showrooming -- using a smartphone or tablet to compare online prices for products while shopping in traditional bricks and mortar stores, the latest update to Google Shopper is designed to turn your mobile device into what it calls "a trusted personal shopper."

As well as simplifying the product search window, Google's revamped app now also provides users with curated lists of gift ideas, based on historical preferences, and alerts users to great deals in stores and shops nearby by pinpointing users' current location.

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Another new feature is a ‘GoodGuide' rating that highlights a product's health, safety or eco-friendly credentials.

The latest figures for US online retail, published Monday, highlight that -- as well as continuing to grow despite continuing economic uncertainty -- 37% of US consumers regularly showroomed over Q3 of 2012, helping to push online retail sales for the quarter up to $41.9 billion -- a 15% increase on the same period in 2011.

Google's own research conducted in October estimates that this showrooming trend is set to grow and that 80 percent of US shoppers will research products or gift ideas online before making a purchase this holiday season and 51 percent of shoppers will buy from a physical store after an online search, while 17 percent will visit a store first to examine an item before making a purchase online.

Google Shopper 3.0 is currently only available for Android smartphones running version 2.3 or later of the operating system. And though available via the Google Play site worldwide, the app is currently optimized for the US.

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