Pushpins, Inc., the makers of a mobile app for saving on groceries, have launched a new service called SimpleUPC targeted towards mobile app developers. SimpleUPC, which is available as an API (application programming interface), provides product information as a service for the use in mobile apps like barcode scanners, shopping lists and nutrition trackers.
The API contains data on over 120,000 food, beverage, personal care and household goods from over 15,000 brands and nearly 5,000 manufacturers.
Explains Jason Gurwin, Pushpins CEO, when the company was building its mobile couponing app Pushpins, it received hundreds of requests per month asking for a simple web service like this. So the Pushpins team decided to fill that need.
“There are other things out there – like Google Product Search, but they return crappy information,” scoffed Gurwin. “I didn’t know that they put guns in Gerber Baby Food,” he said referring to this glaring mistake found in the data his competitors’ provided, where instead of a baby food photo, a case for handguns was pictured.
Gurwin speaks from personal experience when it comes to the difficulties in building accurate product information databases, thanks to his work with Pushpins. Now, other developers don’t have to go through the same thing he did – they can just plug into the RESTful SimpleUPC API instead.
The new API includes traditional product information (UPC, manufacturer, brand, size, container), as well as nutrition facts (the entire product label) and manufacturer-approved images. To license this data from other sources, the cost is often very high (Gurwin says one company wanted $100,000 for its UPC database, for example). Generally, the data would not include nutritional info or images,
SimpleUPC, however, now offers more affordable options for small businesses, starting at $99/month for 50,000 searches and product info. For $249/month, you get 300K searches plus nutritional info and for $499/month, you get 500K searches, plus nutritional info and images.
To showcase the API’s capabilities, the company built an iOS app called Food Fight! which is waiting App Store approval. You can also check out the SimpleUPC demo here.
To sign up for SimpleUPC, visit this page on the company’s website.