RedLaser’s newest Android testing tool: The Manual Test Demultiplexer

Published on | By Miles Skorpen and Ben Yarger

One of the hardest parts of building a great Android app is testing. While testing for iOS means covering 5-10 similar devices, it is a very different story for Android — there are literally hundreds of device & operating system combinations with significant user bases (Animoca showed off their test pool to TechCrunch here). This challenge is particularly true for products like the RedLaser SDK and the RedLaser app which are both used all over the world.

To handle this complexity, RedLaser quality engineer Ben Yarger has built a powerful testing tool, the Manual Test Demultiplexer. We recently released this powerful tool as an open source project on Github! This tool joins a suite of other open source projects from RedLaser team members, including GeoSense and a PHP library for Telemetry.

The Manual Test Demultiplexer can sync a large number of devices so that you can test all devices concurrently and precisely in parallel.  We regularly test 10+ devices at a time. You attach the devices to a control computer, which gives you an interface for the testing (as seen below).


Every action is tracked, so that when issues arise, replication is easy — and doesn’t require much manual work. Ben’s also put a host of tools right at your finger tips, with one-click access to  common functions such as generating bug report, capturing screens, rebooting devices, toggle airplane mode and device wake and unlock.

It also provides another secret weapon: remote access. Many development and testing teams are scattered across the world, which means you’d need duplicate test pools at every location — unless you’re using the RedLaser MTD tool. It enables remote control of device over SSH tunnel. Enable remote developers to debug and control physical devices. We use this so that our California and Portland teams can access the same extensive test pool, despite working 800 miles apart.

You can get the MTD tool and start improving your testing now, via our Github repository!



RedLaser takes on local deals

Published on | By Miles Skorpen

We released an amazing new version of RedLaser for iOS this past Tuesday, and the media has taken notice, from TechCrunch and Appolicious (which reports “If you like saving money when shopping, RedLaser can help you do it”), to industry publications like Marketing Pilgrim and  Internet Retailer.

So what is so impressive about the newest version of RedLaser? For the first time, we’ve taken our local shopping experience and turned it from a search tool — where can you buy certain products — into a powerful local browsing engine, highlighting the best deals and stores around you. New features include in-store deals (carefully selected to be easy to use), store maps, and store circulars. This means you don’t have to wait for circulars or packets of coupons to show up in your mail: instead, just fire up RedLaser. 

MapTabTo access this powerful new functionality, just tap the new deals tab in the menu bar at the bottom of every screen. A map pops up, showing all the major retailers that have stores around you. Over fifty merchants (coverings tens of thousands of stores) are in RedLaser today, and this number is growing fast.

Just imagine using this feature at a mall: within seconds, you can target your shopping trip to your favorite stores with the steepest discounts, or even check to make sure the products you need are in stock.

2013-04-11 09.51.48Select the store you’re interested in, and you’ll get a huge menu of options.

Instead of hunting through aisles, just type in the name of the product you’re looking for, and all the locations appear on the store map. In the image to the left, we’ve found where Diet Coke is sold in our local Walgreens, for example. With another two taps, we’d see that 12-packs of soda were heavily on sale too!

You read more about the new release on the eBay blog or  see the full fact sheet. Then,  find RedLaser on Apple iTunes app store now, and we’re anxious to hear what you think. Give it a whirl!


The RedLaser Product Catalog

Published on | By Miles Skorpen

RedLaser Results

One of our biggest jobs at RedLaser is maintaining and growing our product database. The shoppers who use our app every day depend on us to have the freshest, most accurate, and broadest product information out there. We know it is a bit of a mystery how we get our product data, though.

We start with data from eBay and other eBay-owned companies, like the eBay Commerce Network (just renamed, from Shopping.Com). Not every product on eBay has the UPC information we need to uniquely link it to a product in the RedLaser database, but we work closely with the eBay catalog team to figure out how to push the API to its limits and pull out every match we can. Our biggest risk with eBay data is that we get too many low prices! We run algorithms which identify the eBay results which are most relevant to our users, focusing on showing a range of products — used and new, from top-rated sellers and the occasional hobbyist.

Next, we’ve partnered directly with many of the world’s top retailers. These stores provide us data feeds of all their products. With a select number of merchants, we’ve partnered to make a much easier way to buy, just by putting in your PayPal ID and PIN (these merchants are indicated with green-highlighted prices).

We aggregate all our information, and put it through a rigorous cleaning process (we’ll cover this next week). The best information is added to our catalog, which has grown well over 4,000% since RedLaser was acquired 2.5 years ago, and now covers hundreds of thousands of merchants in nearly any country you can think of.

Fortunately, deciding what prices to show is the easiest part: We sort all online prices from lowest to highest (while local prices are sorted by distance, nearest to farthest), and don’t bias our results in any way, for any partner.

If you’re a retailer or manufacturer, adding your data to RedLaser is easy. Find out more here


Creative marketing from Scott Blake

Published on | By Miles Skorpen

Hitman: Mobile & Street Art Collide from New Science Agency.

The New Science Agency is at the cutting edge of marketing. For a recent campaign to promote Square Enix’s new Hitman video game, they turned to Scott Blake, an artist known for creating fascinating portraits using a collage of UPC codes, and created an unusual mural for downtown San Francisco.

While creating the artwork, the Agency assessed most available scanners, and concluded that RedLaser simply worked better than the competition. Kyle Mortensen, the CEO + Creative Director at New Science Agency, told Creative Guerrilla Marketing that “Red Laser seems to be the best app by far for scanning any barcodes, period.”