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Milo.com, a site where shoppers can search for products that are on the shelves of local stores, is leaving it’s year-long beta test today and unveiling some cool new features.
The timing of the news is interesting, coming just a couple days after Google announced it will start including local store inventories in Google Product Search. But founder and chief executive Jack Abraham said he isn’t too worried. He noted that Milo.com has a two-year head start, with 30 retailers on-board compared to the two Google has announced, and he said, “It’s pretty complex to add each retailer.” Google also tends to get beaten when it competes on specialized searches, he said, such as when it went head-to-head against YouTube, Yelp, and Kayak.
“Everyone seems to think that when Google has something new, it will stomp out competitors,” Abraham said. “It just doesn’t end up working that way.”
The Palo Alto, Calif., startup has some cool features to show off. The most important improvement to come out of its beta test is the ability to filter searches by availability. Previously, Milo search results were arranged before the site pulled in inventory data. That meant all the top results might be from stores where a product is out-of-stock. Now you can limit your results to stores where an item is actually available. The site is also adding a list of hottest products and offers price alerts, so shoppers get notified when prices drop below a certain point.
Milo.com says it will cross 1 million unique visitors for the first time this month. It announced a $4 million first round from True Ventures and some high-profile angel investors a few weeks ago (including VentureBeat investor Aydin Senkut).
Fun trivia: Abraham said he was introduced to many of those angels by his first investor, Keith Rabois of Slide. And he was introduced to Rabois by Abraham’s then-roommate, occasional VentureBeat writer Doug Sherrets (who works at Slide). Another fun fact: Milo.com has its offices in the downtown Palo Alto building that once housed Google, and Abraham made sure to put his desk where Google co-founder Sergey Brin once sat.
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