Will visual search bring eyeballs to Google Shopping?
Google is updating the look and format of product search pages so that feature images better resemble a digital store rather than a long list of links and text.
One method involves the use of Google Lens, an image recognition technology that lets a smartphone camera conduct digital searches by identifying real objects. The “search images” button on the Google app makes all the images on a page searchable through Google Lens, providing information on those products as well as views of similar products.
In a blog entry, Bill Ready, president of commerce, payments & NBU at Google, said, “Whether it’s an image that you see online, a photo you saved on your phone or something in the real world that catches your eye, Google Lens makes the products you see instantly shoppable.”
Google Lens will soon be extended to Chrome on desktops to provide product search results for website images, video and text.
A second method (demonstrated in the video below) enables visual searches directly from mobile search. A search for “cropped jackets,” for example, shows a visual feed of jackets in various colors and styles, alongside other information like local shops, style guides and videos. Users can filter the search down to style, department and brand and access ratings, reviews and price comparisons.
Wrote Bill Ready in his blog article, “This new experience is powered by Google’s Shopping Graph, a comprehensive, real-time dataset of products, inventory and merchants with more than 24 billion listings. This not only helps us connect shoppers with the right products for them, it also helps millions of merchants and brands get discovered on Google every day.”
Google has overhauled its shopping search over the last year as Amazon has surpassed the company as the leader in first product search and lately has also taken share in digital advertising. Google’s changes include no longer requiring merchants to advertise to have their products listed in shopping searches as well as eliminating commission fees. Another newer update has been adding in-store inventory checks to product search.
- New ways to find shopping inspiration on Google – Google
- Google, Battling Amazon, Tries an E-Commerce Makeover to Win Back Advertisers – The Wall Street Journal
- Google adds visual search features in shopping, video push – Reuters
- Google expands shopping searches with Lens and in-store inventory checks – The Verge
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Is adding images to Google Shopping search a game changer? What’s your SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) of Google as a shopping platform?