Zearch

What?

Zearch is a browser plugin that lets you run small queries on the Zappos product catalog from any page. Simply open the Zearch window, type in a query and hit Zearch! to see the results. The results will come back as quantity, minimum, maximum and average prices.

Why?

Ever want to just get the jist of something? Let’s say you’re thinking about getting into rock climbing and reading some forums. Someone mentions sport climbing shoes and you want to know roughly how much they cost and how many are out there. Doing a full search is a bit much, since you’re not committed to buying quite yet.

So you run a Zearch on ‘sport climbing shoes’ and see “68 items, ranging from $62.00 to $259.00 with an average of $134.37″. If that seems a little broad, you can narrow it down to just men’s shoes and see “42 items, ranging from $78.00 to $250.00 with an average of $135.29″. Now you know how much you’re looking at paying if you want to really consider buying those shoes! As Zappos’ already impressive catalog expands, this tool can get you an idea of prices for a wide range of products.

Try some of the following zearches:

  • dishwasher safe blender
  • running shorts
  • rock climbing shoes
  • north face backpack

Where?

You can download the plugin for Firefox or Chrome. If you want to see the internals and know what you’re putting on your computer, the full source code is available in this archive.

How?

To open the Zearch window in Firefox, right click anywhere and click Zearch! You can even highlight text and that will automatically populate and execute the Zearch query.

To open the Zearch window in Chrome, click the Zearch icon in your extension toolbar.

Once the toolbar is open, just type in a query and hit ‘Zearch!’ to get a pricing summary. If you want to narrow the summary down further, you can use the ‘Narrow’ menu. Click the narrow menu and click a menu option to limit the results further.

At any time, you can hit ‘Go’ to open up the Zappos search results directly. You can also hit ‘Clear’ to empty out the current query and list of narrowed down categories.

Who?

This was created by Steve Phillips for the first Zappos API Challenge. This is the first time I’ve written a browser extension, so it was a big learning experience for me. While writing the code, I paid particular attention to browser specific commands, since multiple browser support was an early priority. You can read more about my thoughts going into this project on this blog entry.

When?

Uh… Now? I’m not sure how this one applies.

  1. #1 by Lucy Sanchez on August 12, 2011 - 5:25 am

    This is a very professional approach. Zearch is a creative and catchy name, too.

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