Review for the G1’s Shazam and ShopSavvy Applications

For the last four years, I carried the crummiest phone one could imagine. When I recently brought it into the T-Mobile store they all gasped in horror as I presented my prehistoric beeper of a handset, hairline fractures held together by scotch tape and all. Needless to say, buying the new T-Mobile G1 was a pretty serious upgrade, and as of recently apps are beginning to surface that are mind blowing considering where I am coming from.

Within the last two months I’ve gotten deeper and deeper into these free and easy to acquire Android applications. About a week ago, I downloaded Shazam and ShopSavvy. Wow, these are two of the most mind-blowing apps I have encountered thus far!  Their functionalities are right-on and the technology in both is seriously next level.


Basically, you can hold the phone up to anything playing relatively clear music to let the phone analyze the music coming out of the speaker. After about 20 seconds, the phone will tell you who the artist is, the name of the song, what record the song is from… where you can purchase the music (Amazon) and if available, the artist MySpace page and YouTube links. This search is saved/tagged and is able to be called upon later.  SHAZAM!

Is this such a good thing?

My thought is that owning music has become extremely easy and the days of searching through stacks of CD’S has come to an end.  One concern that comes to my mind is that the easier and more automated this act becomes, the less control we have, thus making music discovery a less personal experience. But hey, the quicker I can have access to an artist’s information, the better for me and the artist (even if I have to sacrifice the thrill of the traditional hunt).

After familiarizing myself with the app I decided to test the depth of its musical knowledge.

The Results

All major label releases, that I tested, were found… including: The Beatles, The Cars, Kanye West, Patti Smith…

I went a level deeper and checked out some indie releases… Against Me!, At the Drive-In, Neutral Milk Hotel, Operation Ivy, Tokyo Police Club… All found!

Music that I thought would be too obscure was found too. Including: Old defunct punk and thrash bands, crummy UK Twee bands I got from my coworker, and even some DJ Mixes (though the app would get confused and sometimes recognized the sample as the original track, or visa-versa).

The only tracks not found were local bands, tour releases, live shows and demos. Surprising…? Not at all. I would have been a bit scared/confused if an application I downloaded onto my cell phone could recognize and ID the band I was in when I was 17.

Great job Shazam! Even if this isn’t applicable to your life, it sure is cool.


What this application does is scan a barcode though the use of your built-in camera, finds the product just scanned, tells you the cheapest price on the internet, the closest place you can purchase this item and gives you directions to that place or provides a link to the online location (normally Ebay or Amazon) with pretty incredible speed.

The Idea is that you can connect yourself to a gigantic wealth of information while you’re on the go. Access to information can make you a smarter and more efficient consumer.

Picture this: You are at the mall, you would like to purchase a new food processor but you’re not too sure what to get. Well, what I would do is… find the closest appliance store, locate the food processor in my price range, scan it, read about it… see if I can get it cheaper somewhere else and continue scanning and looking till the proper bargain is found. If the reviews are bad… move along. This is where I feel like the application becomes powerful. Now we have the ability to ask an unbiased, non-salesperson the proper question about the product in real time… ” What makes this one better then the one that’s cheaper next-door?”, “I just read that carrots really jam this thing up, what’s the deal with that? ”

This app is quite useful. There haven’t been many barcodes where the product comes up as “Unknown”, so it has proved to be quite reliable. It is also fun to play “Price is Right” with it.

Within the new realm of mobile application possibilities we are gaining a new level of connectivity with the rest of the world from anywhere we can get a cell signal. Ultimately, our phones are being recontextualized to be all-in-one tools of consumerism, entertainment, mapping and communication. With all these amazing technological phone advancements, I’m interested to see how a continually progressive tool will affect our future. Learn more about mobile technology and mobile marketing with our latest whitepaper.

(These applications can be downloaded to an IPhone as well.)

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