Freeware Assisting the Invisible Hand

I am just amazed sometimes at the innovations being made in the freeware software industry. The WordPress platform this site operates on was provided as a free download. It continues to be available for millions of people (including myself) who would have had neither the expertise nor resources to develop such a complex software.

A revolutionary business model that defies government-privileged intellectual property is unfolding. The primary product is provided for free, and premium paid services are offered to provide support or build custom software on top of the existing freeware.

Popular Web browsers Firefox and Google Chrome are playing their part as well. Both have a number of free applications that help with online shopping. Just to highlight one, the Google Chrome and Firefox versions of PriceBlink seamlessly compare prices of retailers when browsing online stores. PriceBlink factors in shipping charges to avoid being attracted to a low price just to pay exorbitant shipping rates. It also surveys coupon sites for the latest coupons and shipping deals. For good measure, privacy safeguards prevent a particular user’s browsing data from being identified.

With the release of Version 2.1 on Firefox, PriceBlink can keep a wish list and set targets in the hope a product’s price drops.

Dozens more Firefox shopping add-ons are available, and other free extensions are provided in the Google Chrome web store.