Cork-based consumer review website LouderVoice has become the first Irish company to launch a Google Android application, putting the power of user reviews into the hands of Android users everywhere on the planet.
The LouderVoice application enables people to write and find reviews when they are out and about with their Android phone, making full use of cell tower location and GPS to give users the reviews they need for where they are.
In addition to finding reviews written on the www.loudervoice.com site and Android, users can also browse/search reviews from LouderVoice partners and clients. That includes reviews of many of Roomex’s 20,000 hotels, Puddleducks outdoor clothing, Klipsch audio products and Bubble Brothers wines.
The application is also provided in white-label OEM form and can be pre-installed for many networks. It is currently available as ‘LouderVoice Reviews’ in the Lifestyle section of the Android Market.
Android is a new mobile platform created by Google and about to be launched on a plethora of phones by most major manufacturers. It is expected that Vodafone Ireland and O2 Ireland will be launching phones such as the HTC Magic and Samsung I7500 in the coming months.
Speaking with siliconrepublic.com, LouderVoice CEO Conor O’Neill said that the potential usage for the app could eventually reach across billions of devices.
“In the past couple of weeks, Google announced that 18 new Android phones were coming to the marketplace, and you are also seeing Android-based smart books from Acer and Archos entering the market.
“The power to write reviews on anything from hotels to wines and customer service from anywhere puts the full power of democratisation into the hands of users, and presents businesses everywhere with a challenge and an opportunity to optimise their products and services.
“Some 76pc of people will trust online reviews than a sales assistant or their friends for product recommendations,” O’Neill said.
He cited one example of a business that is proactively using the LouderVoice reviews process to good effect. Customer-focused wine store Bubble Brothers puts collars on bottles of wine or champagne it sells, encouraging users to recount their experiences by SMS.
“Not only does it differentiate Bubble Brothers’ bottles, but it fits in with the company’s philosophy. If it ever does a bad job and sells a less-than-impressive bottle of wine, it would be devastated.
“The ability for customers to send SMS reviews helps to create a transparency between the buyer and seller, and in these recessionary times companies such as Bubble Brothers will survive and thrive because customers know they are genuine and haven’t been ripping them off. It goes back to the old saying: ‘The customer is always right’,” O’Neill explained.
He said that the LouderVoice Android app, which is free on the Android Marketplace, was surprisingly easy to put in place.
“I would describe it as seamless. We’re pleased it’s up there; the quality of the code is fantastic.”
O’Neill said LouderVoice is also looking at future social-networking opportunities for consumer reviews, and is also looking at developing mobile apps for Apple’s iTunes Apps Store, the new Nokia Ovi Store, as well as for devices such as the BlackBerry and the forthcoming Palm Pre smartphones.
By John Kennedy