Truly great search is all about turning intentions into actions, lightning fast. In the early days of Google, users would type in a query, we’d return ten blue links, and they’d move on happy. Today people want more. When searching for great local restaurants, people want places to eat right there on the results page, not another click or two away. It’s the same with hotels, flight options, directions and shopping.

Organizing these types of data can be very different from indexing the Web, because the information is often not publicly available. It requires deep partnerships with different industries—from financial services and travel to merchants who sell physical goods.

Today we’re announcing a new initiative to improve our shopping experience over time--so that shoppers (your customers) can easily research purchases, compare different products, their features and prices, and then connect directly with merchants to make their purchase.

Google Shopping

First, we are starting to transition Google Product Search in the U.S. to a purely commercial model built on Product Listing Ads. This new product discovery experience will be called Google Shopping and the transition will be complete this fall. We believe that having a commercial relationship with merchants will encourage them to keep their product information fresh and up to date. Higher quality data—whether it’s accurate prices, the latest offers or product availability—should mean better shopping results for users, which in turn should create higher quality traffic for merchants.

We’re giving merchants a few months to transition to this new model, and we’re also offering some incentives:

  • All merchants who create Product Listing Ads by August 15, 2012 will automatically receive a monthly credit for 10% of their total Product Listing Ad spend through the end of 2012; and
  • Existing Google Product Search merchants can receive $100 AdWords credit toward Product Listing Ads if they fill out a form before August 15, 2012.
To learn more and get started merchants can visit: www.google.com/ads/shopping

Ranking in Google Shopping, when the full transition is complete this fall, will be based on a combination of relevance and bid price--just like Product Listing Ads today. This will give merchants greater control over where their products appear on Google Shopping. Over time they will also have the opportunity to market special offers such as “30% off all refracting telescopes.”

In addition, merchants who want to stand out from the crowd can choose to participate in our new Google Trusted Stores program. Google Trusted Stores is a badge for e-commerce sites which gives users background on merchants—whatever their size—including ratings for on-time shipping and customer service. Google stands behind merchants that have earned the Google Trusted Stores badge with a $1,000 lifetime purchase protection guarantee per shopper.

Google.com

Second, starting today we’ve also begun to experiment with some new commercial formats on Google.com that will make it easier for users to find and compare different products. These include larger product images that give shoppers a better sense of what is available and also the ability to refine a search by brand or product type. For example, here’s what stargazers could see on Google.com when searching for [telescopes].
Search results for [telescopes] in the new Google Shopping experience
These new formats are clearly labeled “sponsored,” and take space currently occupied by AdWords.

If people are looking for a specific product, such as [Celestron CPC 800], they might also see a new design that summarizes information about that particular item neatly in one place. They can then easily decide whether it is what they want, and buy it from their merchant of choice.
Results for specific product queries like [Celestron CPC 800] may include reviews and product attributes
We’re excited about building delightful shopping experiences for consumers in close partnership with merchants. Google Shopping will empower businesses of all sizes to compete effectively--and it will help shoppers turn their intentions into actions lightning fast. Today’s changes are a first step toward providing technology, tools and traffic to help power the retail ecosystem.

Posted by Sameer Samat, Vice President of Product Management, Google Shopping
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