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by Ray Carlson

Q. When shopping on-line, I waste a lot of time getting price comparisons. Is there a fast method?

A.: Firefox, Chrome and Safari offer an add-on called PriceBlink. After installing this extension, any time you look at an item at an on-line store, a line appears at the top of the page listing the cheapest price at another site or saying you are at the store with the cheapest price. If you click on the box marked “View all prices” a list of prices at several stores appears. If the software does not find the item at another site, no line appears.

Click on the listing for any store and a window for that site will open. On the list of prices, you can click on “Check price history” and a report including a graph of prices for the past three months appears. You need to allow pop-ups for this feature to work. To add this extension, go to the PriceBlink website and click on download for the Firefox version or click on Chrome or Safari to set up this extension for those options.

The setup is very fast. A similar product is called Invisible Hand which can be added to Internet Explorer as well as Firefox, Chrome, and Safari. That program generates a similar line indicating the best and next best price rather than a listing at several stores. If you add both programs, one will cover the other, so close the one on top to see what the other found.

Published: Courier 6/19/11 - Page 5C