Google launches Commerce Search – where is the catch?

Google launched Commerce Search yesterday:

“Visitors spend an average of just eight seconds before deciding whether or not to remain on a website, so having a good search tool is important for turning visitors into buyers. Google Commerce Search is hosted by and uses Google search technology to make online retail searching both fast and customizable — visitors to your online store can sort by category, price, brand or any other attribute. E-store administrators can highlight special products or connect related ones so searching is easier for their customers. Google Commerce Search includes a built-in spellchecker and synonyms so if visitors can’t remember exactly how to spell the particular toy or perfume or anything else they’re hunting for, Google Commerce Search will make some suggestions.” Official Google Blog.

So what is the catch? In some ways there isn’t one for consumers who will probably be able to find and buy more stuff, more easily. For retailers though, I am already hearing a lot of retailers who are uncomfortable with the power that Google holds over them. Stories abound of organisations competing against each other for adwords, and key words – especially brand words that mean more and more of an organisation’s marketing spend is going to do nothing other than fill Google’s coffers. There is nothing inherently wrong with this – it is basic capitalism.

It was interesting to hear at a recent ecommerce discussion that we organised though that many of the 20 or so organisations represented, (with over £1billion of annual sales) , expressed significant unease about the ‘Power of Google’. There is a very real fear that Google effectively has so much power at the moment that it is a monopoly that can dictate terms of business. Everyone in the group were very clear that the single thing they saw as being most helpful for ecommerce, was to have a credible competitor to Google.

It is not just Microsoft that has a lot to potentially lose in the search engine war. Online retailers will be disappointed by this news:

“Bing’s market share has stabilised after falling since mid August,” commented Aodhan Cullen, CEO, StatCounter. “However, a worrying trend for Microsoft is that the combined Bing and Yahoo! market share has seen a steady decline from 20.36% in July to 17.77% in October.” More.

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2 responses to “Google launches Commerce Search – where is the catch?”

  1. I need to add that Google can have some real competition if the industry would be more open for innovation. Pixsta Ltd, a London based Visual Search Company has innovated over years and launched the worlds most sophisticated visual search engine for products which are best judged by look and feel, hence fashion and style based items are a good starting point. The technology is ultra scalable and as I described world class. It just needs these 20 retailers to endorse an alternative to Google and you have within an industry an alternative, So far for Fashion Search remember Empora, if you as a reader are interested you should try for Women Fashion Search, for men based fashion search, for celebrity based fashion search , well you get the message. But serious this is a growing subject and the search index Pixsta delivers is probably the worlds best visual search index for product search.

  2. Such beautifully self-promotional comments should be celebrated.