Area 120, Google’s experimental product division, just launched Shoploop, a new web app that’s basically TikTok for short product reviews and shopping.
Shoploop is all about short videos of 90-seconds or less that show off review-like clips from creators and brands. At the moment, the entire platform consists of beauty products like makeup and skincare. However, Area 120 plans to expand Shoploop to include more products in the future.
The whole thing seems like a weird mix between TikTok and Instagram, and it feels like an influencer’s dream platform. Each post features the video clip along with the product name, price and a link to the website to buy it. In my testing, it seemed all the prices were in USD and linked to the product’s U.S. store pages — a bummer for Canadians.
That said, one appreciated feature with Shoploop is that when you click, it shows a preview box to let you know you’re about to be directed to the website and shows which site you’re headed to. Hopefully, that cuts down on phishing or other scam links.
Shoploop also includes product categories along the top of the page so users can filter what they want to see. The app consists of several basic social network features too. For example, users can like, share and bookmark posts, view creator pages and follow them. There are options to view your own profile and saved videos as well. Finally, users can apply to be a creator. Brands can also register for their own channels.
Currently, Shoploop is only available for mobile — if you head to the website on desktop, it directs you to come back on your phone. Like Google’s other recent Area 120 experiment — and Pinterest clone — Keen, Shoploop is available as a Progressive Web App (PWA). That means users can install the website on their smartphone and use it like a native app, even though it’s a website.
Unlike Keen, Shoploop isn’t available in the Play Store, although that could change in the future.
I could see Shoploop gaining popularity as a platform for shopping, but it may struggle to justify itself right now. On the one hand, aside from brands looking to sell things, Shoploop doesn’t offer any other content to draw eyes. That could be a barrier to adoption since similar apps, like TikTok, offer much more entertainment to lure in users.
Another issue could be timing. Shoploop arrived amid a global pandemic and economic downturn, which could mean people aren’t as interested in browsing a platform dedicated to shopping.
Still, Shoploop is an interesting idea and, if nothing else, could inspire Instagram or TikTok to offer a similar shopping-focussed platform within their respective apps.
My passion for tech started with my first iPod and has carried through smartphones and computers of all kinds. Android is my jam, but I get excited for anything cool that happens in tech. I also enjoy gaming, building my own computers and digging into how things work.