Frager Factor

Friday, December 24, 2010

Google: "a collection of curated experiences"-- Retailers and Online Medias New Competitor

Google Moves to Own More of the Online Shopping Experience

Make No Mistake: Retailers and Online Media Just Got A New Competitor

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Erin Jo Richey
Erin Jo Richey
Many websites embrace Google's advertising services as effective programs for driving traffic and bringing in new customers. Yet one of Google's most recent ventures could spark new competition between Google and media or ecommerce companies by owning a larger share of the online shopping experience.

Google's launch last month of Boutiques.com is the first output of its August acquisition of Like.com. At its core, Like.com is "visual search" technology applied to products. Similar to other comparison shopping sites, merchants could have product feeds indexed by the site and pay cost-per-click fees for the traffic generated. Unique to the Like.com model, users could search by color, pattern, and shape or style of the products. With the Like.com visual recognition technology, a click on one product might return results of any other products that were similar in appearance.

Boutiques.com is a fresh direction for Google and a more sophisticated offering than its ecommerce foundation, Google Product Search. Where exposure in Google Products Search is free for online merchants and much more dependent on old-fashioned keyword searches, Boutiques.com says it will generate money by charging merchants a cost-per-click fee for traffic it drives back to online stores.

With the launch of Boutiques.com, Google has dressed up the visual search technology into a website where users browse through high-fashion apparel and accessories based on styles, silhouettes, and trends. Like.com co-founder Munjal Shah describes the Boutiques offering as, "a collection of curated experiences." Users can create a personalized shopping experience; items they like are saved to their own style boutique, which also includes recommended products based on their answers to taste-preference questions. There are also curated "boutiques" from a variety of celebrities, bloggers, and designers. Each boutique can be followed by users, building up a base of fans for influential fashionistas. MORE



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