Snap and Buy sends review of products to phone

By Anahita Monga

Two Ph.D. students at the University are launching a program next semester that is going to make shopping an easier and cheaper experience.

Snap and Buy Inc. is a program developed by Nicolas Loeff and Ali Farhadi that will allow customers to take a picture of a product’s barcode from a mobile phone and send it as a text message to the Snap and Buy Web site. Customers will then receive information about the product within seconds.

“You will get all the information about the product like ratings, reviews, pricing and know right there and then if the price is good,” Farhadi said.

Also, for customers who do not have text messaging on their phone, they can call and read out the product’s barcode to a voice automated message, which will then give information about the product. Customers can also send an e-mail, Farhadi said.

“It’ll tell you properties of the product, whether it’s good or bad and it gets reviews and information from Web sites like Amazon, Google and Yahoo,” Loeff said.

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    Loeff and Farhadi started this project as part of the iVentures10 program through IllinoisVENTURES this summer, where University students had the opportunity to present an idea to investors. They started coding for their Snap and Buy project and are almost ready to launch the program next semester.

    Snap and Buy works with any and every product that has a barcode on it.

    “There are more than 40 million barcodes in our program right now and no two barcodes are same so we can find you information for any product, even a Hershey’s chocolate or a granola bar,” Loeff said.

    For students at the University, buying textbooks with the help of Snap and Buy can save them a lot of money.

    “It’s really interesting and beneficial,” said Lauren Bachusz, freshman in general studies.

    Loeff and Farhadi worked on this project with three other Ph.D. students and an undergraduate student at the University.

    Students involved in Office for Technical Consulting Resources also worked on consulting for Snap and Buy.

    “Eight students from the College of Business and College of Engineering worked on marketing strategies and launching strategies for this Snap and Buy project,” said Stephen Buege, senior in Business and project manager at the office.

    Loeff and Farhadi also plan to sync their program with social networking Web sites like Facebook and Twitter.

    “You can send a message to your friends on Facebook and they’ll see the product you’re buying and they can also give their feedback about it,” Loeff said.