Google has spruced up Product Search ahead of Christmas and added a feature that lists local stores where the products are in-stock.
In order to deliver this service Google has partnered with 70 retail brands and with retailers like Best Buy and Williams-Sonoma. It has also partnered with software makers like JDA, Epicor and Oracle. The feature enables online customers to connect with offline stores.
It allows the user to click on the icon "nearby store" and it lists a series of local stores that have the specified product in store.
To facilitate partnership for retailers, Google has roped in software vendors JDA, Epicor and Oracle to create special adapters that assist retailers to plug in to the service. It enables retailers to share their inventory and product-related information with Google Product Search feature.
Google is also rolling out new tabs "Popular products" and "aisles". For example, when a user is searching for "camera lenses" the feature throws up results of lenses that other users are searching. "Aisles" categorizes results based on sub-categories.
Though currently users cannot buy products on Google.com unlike Amazon.com, the Product Search feature can evolve into a marketplace. With retailers connecting with Google and an alternate Paypal-like system - CheckOut - in place, Google can leverage on Product Search.
Google also acquired Like.com, a visual recognition company which can complement Product search, allowing users to sharpen search results using images. Google can also run analytics on search data to assist stores to manage inventory which can further open a revenue stream for the company.