By Harry McCracken | Thursday, October 15, 2009 at 12:12 pm
Shopping search engine TheFind has relaunched with a bunch of new features. It claims to cover 350 million products, and I believe it–I got tons of results when I searched for everything from cameras to camera accessories to specific books to baby products to condiments.
TheFind isn’t like a comparative pricing engine such as PriceGrabber, which returns results in a grid with lots of comparative info; nor is it like the review-centric Retrevo or Wize. Instead, it feels a little like a Google-style general-purpose search engine, except with extra features tailored to shopping–and all the results point to pages at e-commerce sites where you can buy stuff.
Among the shopping-centric features:
TheFind’s interface is pretty slick, and both the coupon feature and the breadth and depth of items it finds can definitely come in handy when you’re hunting for obscure items. (When I searched for “Nikon D90” it pulled up intriguing accessories which I didn’t even know existed.)
But this site is more of an effective complement to other shopping engines than a replacement for them. For the tech products I searched for, at least, it’s not a very good place to go when you’ve decided on a particular product and want to quickly determine where to buy it. For one thing, it doesn’t cluster multiple merchants who offer a product in a grid with information about availability, shipping costs, and the like. For another, despite the wealth of products it includes, I had trouble finding some of the items I looked for: I couldn’t pull up any results for the iPhone 3GS or Palm Pre, and the only MacBook Pros it found seemed to be reconditioned ones.
And I found a few quirks: the site sometimes pointed me to coupons that were expired, and to local retailers who were indeed local, but who only sold the product in question through their mail-order arm.
I know I’ll use TheFind, but I’m still looking for a Great Universal Shopping Engine that’s so powerful and so useful that I don’t end up using several sites for different aspects of product research. If you’re aware of any comprehensive one-stop tools, lemme know, will you?