Millions of consumers who want to comparison shop on the fly with their smartphones have been turning to the free Google Shopper app since last February. The problem is that app was limited to the Android platform.

Those days are over now that Google has announced that the shopping software is now available for the iPhone through Apple's App Store.

The program, which runs iOS 4.0 or higher, allows consumers to learn about products they're considering buying, as well as read reviews of those products. It also lets shoppers compare prices for an item both online and at local brick-and-mortar stores. What's more, information about products can be shared or saved for future reevaluation.

Product searches can be performed by typing in text or speaking the item's name into the phone. If you're in a store location, the app permits you to scan the Universal Product Code for the item and pull up reviews of it from the Internet.

When searching for items at nearby retailers, the app sometimes can provide you with inventory information that will reveal whether the item is in stock, where it's in stock or if it has been sold out.

If you're on the fence about buying a product, you can "star" it for future consideration or if it's a deal that has stoked your enthusiasm, you can trumpet the item to your friends on your social networks.

Initial release of the iPhone app is limited to English speakers in the United States and United Kingdom.

According to Google, 2.5 million copies of the Android version of the shopping app were downloaded during its first nine months on the market.

Although there are other shopping apps available, none have the flexibility or breadth of data behind them that Google's software has, Greg Sterling noted at Search Engine Watch.