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04. 08. 2008

Shopping for electronics? Try Retrevo, a new way to find and buy


In our last episode, you may recall, I was hunting around for an iPod Touch substitute that would be cheaper - and perhaps even better, in some ways, at playing videos and Web surfing. And I thought I might have found it: the Archos 605 WiFi, which the CNET reviewer liked a lot.

But even at $200 less than the Touch, that's still serious bucks to nag my loving family into spending on my birthday. So more research was indicated. Which gave me a reason to try out a new search engine, name of Retrevo.

Oh no, not another search engine! Oh ho, yes indeedy. But Retrevo is not just another search engine. It's a search engine designed for one of Popgadget's deepest avocations: Shopping. Shopping for electronic items, to be precise.

Precise is just the word for Retrevo, in fact. Plug the eProduct (or iProduct) of your dreams into Retrevo and up come reviews, blog posts, manufacturer info, and buying sites, all neatly organized and categorized for your researching pleasure. It will also search for solutions to problems you're having with a technotoy, and it finds manuals for you, too. No more excuses for not being able to RTFM!

The Archos reviews were mostly from non-US sources, chiefly the UK. That's not a problem for the many of you based elsewhere in the world. But I'm a bit concerned that the device they were evaluating might not be identical to the one I can buy in the States.

For comparison, I plugged Reviews: Archos 605 into Google. (You did know you could pull up reviews on Google with that syntax, didn't you?) Google's first few hits were different from Retrevo's, and nearly all were from the US. Of course, Big Brother Google knows where I live, and I suspect the hit lists it fetches for me are tailored accordingly. The rest of the Google list duplicated many of the reviews Retrevo turned up.

Retrevo's strength is that, while it rounds up hits similar to a Review search on Google, Retrevo retrieves lots more than reviews. It found dozens of blog and forum posts, and the many shopping sites were nearly all ones I can buy from without global complexities. Maybe Retrevo knows where I live too? But in that case, why weren't the reviews tailored to my locale?

To cross-check with a different product, I Retrevoed the iPod Touch. This time there were more US-based reviews, but still several from elsewhere. So it looks as if you can expect a goodly mix of non-US reviews at Retrevo, which may be just what you need. It is still in beta, so if you're thinking of dropping the big bucks on some electronic thingamabob, you may want to supplement your Retrevo searches with some of your usual shopping tools. Meantime, Retrevo is a comprehensive and useful way to do shopping research. I'm betting it will only get better.

[EDITOR'S NOTE: Popgadget partners with a competing website, TechSelector, in bringing you Interactive Buying Guides for electronics.]

Posted by Tam    Category: on the web
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