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GoodGuide, one of my favorite applications for the iPhone, just got a cool new feature — barcode scanning. Users could already consult the app for data on whether a product was healthy, environmentally-friendly, and socially-responsible, but now you don’t have to type in a search. Just scan the barcode, and the app brings up the relevant information.
The San Francisco company also announced a $5.5 million second round of funding led by new investor Physic Ventures, with participation from New Island Capital and existing investors New Enterprise Associates and Draper Fisher Jurvetson. GoodGuide previously raised $3.73 million.
At first, GoodGuide’s concept — building a comprehensive database that can provide authoritative information about a product’s health and ethics — might sound rather obvious, but the company says it’s actually pretty difficult to track down all the data. Presumably, that’s why I don’t know of any direct competitors (as opposed to ethical retail sites or shopping guides focused on specific markets).
The barcode scanner works best with the improved camera on the iPhone 3Gs. I just tested it out on my 3G, and while it took some getting used to (you have to hold both the camera and the product still for several seconds while it scans the code), it works. GoodGuide says it already has 62,000 products and companies in its database, and if users start scanning products that aren’t there yet, the company will know what to add next.
There are several other barcode-scanning apps out there, most notably ShopSavvy, but they’re mostly focused on general product information.
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