A helping hand with your grocery shopping

A while ago, actually in August 2009 I blogged about attending the Tesco.com T-jam event in London. In my blog post I mention that I was going to start work on a project called My Shopping Assistant that would allow me to play with the Tesco.com API and also produce a product that would help people when doing their grocery shopping online.

I started work on a website but work on that slowed and I ended up putting a holding page on that domain for the past few years. I did some work on a Facebook app which allowed people to shop within Facebook. The idea was if you were browsing Facebook and you suddenly remembered you needed some milk you could quickly go to the app page and add the item directly to your Tesco basket. It worked and it got quite a few users. I even got mentioned in The Grocer magazine. Unfortunately changes to the Facebook API and lack of time meant the app stopped working so I had to turn it off.

For years Fiona and myself have been doing our grocery shopping online using Tesco.com. Every week Fiona will ask me what meals I want for the week ahead. She has to really battle to get my input and I hate the entire process. We ultimately come up with a list of meals that we want to have and pick what days we will have them on. We then have to work out what items we need for those meals, search for each individual item and then add it to the basket.

For a long time I have had the idea of creating a website that will allow you to create meals. You then add the items you would normally have to that meal including the quantity you require. When you have a list of meals you would simply click the meal and the app would add all the items in that meal to your Tesco.com basket for you. Simple.

Over the past couple of weeks I have managed to put some time aside to work on the idea. A couple of days ago I put the Alpha version of the website online. You can find it by going to www.myshoppingassistant.co.uk

With My Shopping Assistant you create packages, which can contain a number of items. You choose which items to add to a package so you pick the brand, size, colour or flavour you prefer. I decided to go with packages because you can create a package for; things for pets, cleaning items, meals, bbq food etc…

When you’re ready to do an online shop you no longer have to go through the tedious and laborious task of searching and adding individual items. You simple select the package you want to add, confirm you want all the items in that package and then add them directly to your Tesco.com basket.

If you shop online at Tesco.com then I would love it if you would try out my website. You don’t have to register as you just sign in with your Tesco.com account. Go to My Shopping Assistant and give it a go. Please let me have your feedback and thoughts.

Remember at the time of writing this blog post the website is still in development. What is online does work but its slow and there will be bugs and things that are not there yet. As and when I find more time I will keep working on it and with your feedback I think we can make it into a really helpful service.

Have fun!

Some great support…

Yesterday I was checking twitter and saw an update from @nicklansley (head of R&D at tesco.com). He has a blog called ‘techfortesco’ which, as  I am sure you can guess, is all about technology. I clicked on the link to have a read and the title was ‘Order your Tesco.com groceries through a Facebook app’. This instantly got me excited as I am the only person (that I know of) who has done anything like this which Nick knows about.

…the time is coming when our army of third-party developers can unleash their Tesco Grocery API powered applications on the world.

One of these developers is James Mills, an IT programmer who came along to our Tesco TJAM day back in August last year.

James has developed a Facebook application called ‘My Shopping Assistant’ which allows Facebook users to shop groceries with us.

Click here to read the full blog post

This is really exciting because it comes only a few days after Nick showed his support for the My Shopping Assistant facebook app by becoming a fan of the facebook app.

Things are really starting to get moving now with My Shopping Assistant. The facebook app, although it does not do much at the moment, is getting used quite frequently and is attracting quite a bit of interest.

Another app which we are working on is the Joggler app which Sam Whisker is helping develope. This is really exciting and we hope to have a version released very soon.

Further reading:

Joggler apstore update

The 02 Joggler is an absolutely awesome devise. The software that is on it might be a little behind and the hardware could probably do with a little improvement and some added features but as a first version it is an awesome idea and I will challenge anyone who disagrees.

The Joggler is a classic example of what Nick Lansley refers to as a fourth device it is designed to sit in the kitchen or in a communal place within the home. It allows easy access to an always on always connected device. O2 have tried their best to market it around their calendar service and push it as a devise that will keep the family organised allowing the entire family to know what each other is doing etc. The problem with this is that most people will already be using a calendar service which they are happy with and have fitted their life around how that works and nobody is going to switch to a service which is clunky and not as streamlined. The interface of the o2 calendar on the devise is good and easy to view but lets be honest, I am more than happy with Google Calendar and its going to take a lot and I mean a lot to move me away. I can sync my Google Calendar with Outlook on my laptop, Outlook on my desktop at home, Outlook on my desktop at work using Google Calendar Sync and I can use Goolge Sync and my iPhone Microsoft Exchange settings to sync my calendar with my mobile. Its easy and it works without me having to do anything. Fiona can even add things to my calendar without me knowing and I get alerts and I can see what I am doing on any devise I want.

So you can imagine my excitement when I found out that o2 will be releasing an update this week which will add an appstore of some sorts to the Joggler devise and…. they will be adding a Google Calendar app to the appstore!!!

This is great news… one because it means they are not going to force people to use their own calendar service and secondly because they are opening up the devise to developers to developer apps just like Apple have done with the iPhone.

OK so I knew that this was in the pipe line because I have been working with Sam Whisker for a while now to release an app for the Joggler for My Shopping Assistant. My Shopping Assistant is a set of applications which work on different devises (only a couple at the moment) which allow you to add, update and delete things from your Tesco.com basket. Some of you will already know I have been working with the Tesco.com API for a while now since my trip to London to the T-Jam event. I have written my own API which sits in-between the Tesco API and my own applications so that I can ‘add value’ to what they already offer. I will keep my main idea under wraps for now… you will hear more about it when we get the basics finished.

At the moment there is a beta facebook app out which you can access and test right now on facebook –  My Shopping Assistant facebook application. Although there are many features still to add you can do the basics of search for products and adding them to your Tesco.com basket! All from within facebook! Awesome right!

So the great news is that the Joggler will be getting an update this week and although you may not have heard much about it online (their online marketing and buzz for this has been poor) this is going to start something great and really kick start the Joggler as a devise.

Keep your eye out for the My Shopping Assistant Joggler app in the appstore really soon!

I bet not many of you have heard of it but the 02 Joggler is an absolutely awesome devise. The software that is on it might be a little behind and the hardware could probably do with a little improvement and some added features but as a first version it is an awesome idea and I will challenge anyone who disagrees.

The Joggler is a classic of what Nick Lansley refers to as a fourth device (http://techfortesco.blogspot.com/2009/07/fourth-screen.html) it is designed to sit in the kitchen or in a communal place within the home. It allows easy access to an always on always connected device. O2 have tried their best to market it around their calendar service and push it as a devise that will keep the family organised allowing the entire family to know what each other is doing etc. The problem with this is that most people will already be using a calendar service which they are happy with and have fitted their life around how that works and nobody is going to switch to a service which is clunky and not as streamlined. The interface of the o2 calendar on the devise is good and easy to view but lets be honest, I am more than happy with Google Calendar and its going to take a lot and I mean a lot to move me away. I can sync my Google Calendar with Outlook on my laptop, Outlook on my desktop at home, Outlook on my desktop at work using Google Calendar Sync (http://www.google.com/support/calendar/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=89955) and I can use Goolge Sync and my iPhone Microsoft Exchange settings to sync my calendar with my mobile. Its easy and it works without me having to do anything. Fiona can even add things to my calendar without me knowing and I get alerts and I can see what I am doing on any devise I want.

So you can imagine my excitement when I found out that o2 will be releasing an update this week which will add an appstore of some sorts to the Joggler devise and…. they will be adding a Google Calendar app to the appstore!!!

This is great news… one because it means they are not going to force people to use their own calendar service and secondly because they are opening up the devise to developers to developer apps just like Apple have done with the iPhone.

OK so I knew that this was in the pipe line because I have been working with Sam Whisker (http://www.friendlyparrot.co.uk) for a while now to release an app for the Joggler for My Shopping Assistant. My Shopping Assistant is a set of applications which work on different devises (only a couple at the moment) which allow you to add, update and delete things from your Tesco.com basket. Some of you will already know I have been working with the Tesco.com API for a while now since my trip to London to the T-Jam event. I have written my own API which sits in-between the Tesco API and my own applications so that I can ‘add value’ to what they already offer. I will keep my main idea under wraps for now… you will hear more about it when we get the basics finished.

At the moment there is a beta facebook app out which you can access and test at http://www.facebook.com/apps/application.php?id=126311593291 This is the My Shopping Assistant facebook application and although there are many features still to add you can do the basics of search for products and adding them to your Tesco.com basket! All from within facebook! Awesome right!

So the great news is that the Joggler will be getting an update this week and although you may not have heard much about it online (their online marketing and buzz for this has been poor) this is going to start something great and really kick start the Joggler as a devise.

Keep your eye out for the My Shopping Assistant Joggler app in the appstore really soon!