2008 – the year of Google Product Search?? (the CSE previosly known as Froogle)

January 9, 2008

Gps_logoIn Q4 one of the interesting datapoints we saw was Google Product Search (I’ll call it GPS) go from the number 6/7 comparison shopping engine, to number 1.  Upon further investigation we saw that there were two reasons:

  1. On Thanksgiving day, Google changed the top navigation of the sparse Google home page to say “products” instead of video.  Today it says “shopping” I just noticed.
  2. Google seemed to increase the number of search engine result pages (SERPS in industry lingo) that included a GPS component.  For example, a recent search on LCD monitors resulted in a part of the page (designated by a little shopping bag) that is a universal search result (or one-box in Google-speak) set from GPS.  The example is illustrated below in case google acts differently for you.

Gps_example

Note that Google has several areas in GPS where Google Checkout merchants are advantaged.

My conclusion is that GPS seems to be on the move and is something that if you aren’t already sending your products to GPS, you should consider it ASAP.  The beauty in all of this is that it’s free!  Think of it as search engine optimization, you do some work, google digests your products via a feed and then you are now exposed to a ton of traffic you previously didn’t have.

It’s important to note that many eBay sellers view that they get GPS exposure via their eBay store which is great, but economically that doesn’t make much sense.  Why would you take something free like GPS traffic and then layer the eBay store fee structure on top of that?  Instead you should setup a simple ecommerce site and push products directly vs. getting there from an eBay store.

Another interesting development and indication that GPS has some things percolating I noticed in an article today from Ina@AuctionBytes. Ina reveals that GPS is now showing ratings for merchants. There’s a lot of great information and feedback from GPS’s new leader, Jerry Dischler.  I was playing around with the reviews and in true Google fashion, found them to be simple, yet very powerful.

For example, look at the reviews for this merchant that is selling a game for the Nintendo DS – beach audio.  This is a simple UI, but look at all the functionality:

  • I can easily see the aggregate reviews
  • I can see positive/negative/neutral with one click
  • I can see frequently used terms in feedback (e.g. fast shipping, etc.) – this is a neat google-esque feature I haven’t seen anywhere else.
  • Finally you can look at the various review sources and filter based on those.  For example, if you find the google checkout reviewers more relevant you can just look at those.

I’ve long theorised that by putting the feedback system into the payment mechanism, you could have a much better and ‘portable’ feedback system than the eBay system.  It looks like Google has taken another step down that path.

With a new leader and what appears to be some new functionality coming out, I strongly recommend merchants revisit their GPS strategy (and Google Checkout) and make sure you are ready to ride this wave.