Download of the Week: InvisibleHand browser add-on

By on March 25, 2011, 3:44 PM
InvisibleHand is a price comparison browser extension for Firefox 3.5+, Google Chrome, Safari and Internet Explorer that notifies you if a product you are looking at on a particular online store is available for less from another retailer. Although it may not be the first add-on of its kind, it stands out for the fact that it's very easy to forget that it's even there -- it operates in the background and remains completely invisible unless it finds useful data to display.

Say you want to buy a digital camera and pick out a particular model on Amazon, for example. If the same product is available for less at buy.com (or any of the 220 retailers currently supported in the US, UK and Germany) InvisibleHand will show a discrete notification below the address bar with the price and link to the product page at the competing retailer. An option to view all other results found is also offered. According to the developer, InvisibleHand even knows the price of products when the retailer tries to hide it using add to cart mechanisms and the like.


Following a recent update the add-on also gained the ability to display the cheapest or most convenient flight when you search for flights on a particular date and route using sites like Priceline, Expedia, or individual airlines.

It's really a time and money saver. The name of the extension is explained on the extension's FAQ page, and I paraphrase: The invisible hand was originally mentioned by the 18th century economist Adam Smith, who argued that in a free market, individuals will pursue their own self-interest, and the consequences of this will be beneficial for the rest of society. Smith didn't have the Internet to help make his point, but we hope he would approve if he were alive today.




User Comments: 12

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Trillionsin Trillionsin said:

Anyone on here try this yet? Worth a shot?

Staff
Julio Franco Julio Franco, TechSpot Editor, said:

We are recommending it for a reason, we have tried it, good enough?

andreasf93 said:

I've used it few times. It's useful, but sometimes it can be annoying.

PinothyJ said:

Why does everyone forget Australia ? Oh well, I have the same thing available for OzGameShop.com which works exactly the same...

Guest said:

I have used it for quite some time, it has saved me some money. It's not so annoying to me. When it comes across an item I am looking at, a yellow bar appears at the top with the lowest price it can find, very simple.

Darkshadoe Darkshadoe said:

Julio said:

We are recommending it for a reason, we have tried it, good enough?

Actually Juilo, it isn't good enough. The article sounded more like an advertisement than an in depth critique of the product. How safe is this product?, Is it full of bloatware? Is the installation easy?, Is the uninstall a pain?..Where are these type of questions and their answers?

Staff
Jos Jos said:

@darkshadoe Fair enough. These posts are not meant as in depth reviews but rather as recommendations of things we encounter and find useful. That said, some of the questions you ask are answered on the linked FAQ page. About installing/uninstalling, it's a 160KB browser extension, so that should take less than a second and no more than a single click.

phillai said:

I can't seem to get this working in Firefox 4...

Guest said:

I have used it several times. Match quality is fair, speed is sometimes slow. But worth having on. However I found another add-on called FreePriceAlerts that I have been running at the same time, seems faster, better matches and the prices they find are usually lower. The Alerts is a lot less obtrusive then invisible Hand as well.

Dawnr said:

I too have used Invisible Hand in the past. At times it seemed to crash my browser and seemed a bit sluggish. Late last year I discovered FreePriceAlerts and have been using that exclusively now.

It was a simple download, sits in the background until you need it and I like how with FreePriceAlerts you can set up an alert for when the item drops in price you get an email notification.

Staff
Julio Franco Julio Franco, TechSpot Editor, said:

Actually Juilo, it isn't good enough. The article sounded more like an advertisement than an in depth critique of the product. How safe is this product?, Is it full of bloatware? Is the installation easy?, Is the uninstall a pain?..Where are these type of questions and their answers?

Well, no we wouldn't recommend anything unsafe or full of bloatware, that's supposed to be a given. We won't ever mix advertisement with editorial, another given for us. Installation? For a browser add-on?... Anyhow, like Jose mentioned, our Download of the Week series is meant to bring to your attention tools or software that we've tried and consider useful, not necessarily must-haves to everybody.

Furthermore, as it just happened with this recommendation, our readers' collective knowledge came up with an alternative solution (FreePriceAlerts) that according to some of you is a superior choice. Way to go!

Guest said:

I've tried this and a few other and have settled on the BargainMatch Firefox Extension.

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