Google Take on Amazon in Shopping. Again.

Posted on May 15, 2019 by Paul Thurrott in Cloud, Google with 4 Comments

In a bid to better target Amazon’s dominance in online shopping, the search giant is consolidating its Shopping Search and Express services into a single service called Google Shopping.

“We’re unveiling a redesigned Google Shopping experience with new, immersive ways for shoppers to discover and compare millions of products from thousands of stores,” Google’s Surojit Chattarjee announced. “When they’re ready to buy, they can choose to purchase online, in a nearby store and now directly on Google. For retailers and brands, it brings together ads, local and transactions in one place to help them connect with consumers at the right time.”

As Chattarjee notes, the newly-redesigned Google Shopping will merge Google Express with Google Shopping, the latter of which was previously just a Google Search-based experience. That said, as of this writing, the Google Express mobile app is still available, and while the new Google Shopping is available on the web, so is the Google Express site.

Both will be rebranded to Google Shopping soon. But that this latter experience looks a lot like is, of course, by design. Amazon currently dominates online shopping and is, by some estimates, responsible for one third and one half of all e-commerce. Amazon sold $277 billion in good last year. Worse, for Google, Amazon is now the number one source for over half of all product searches; in 2015, Google was number one.

Whether Google gains any traction in shopping is an open question, but the firm’s recent inability to do so is well-documented. The firm partnered with Wal-Mart in 2017, for example, but that partnership quietly dissolved recently with Wal-Mart seeking to cement its own online presence.


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Comments (4)

4 responses to “Google Take on Amazon in Shopping. Again.”

  1. yoshi

    Google always feeling the need to dominate every market. I don't see this making any kind of dent in Amazon. The only company that seems like it has a chance right now is Wal-Mart.

    • datameister

      In reply to yoshi:

      I agree. This seems like a silly task for Google to care about. I guess maybe they see it as a way to help the little retailers compete with Amazon, but I haven't found their unified shopping interface under Google Express (GE) to be much better than just the regular Google search engine.

      If anything GE is more confusing and annoying because:

      1. you get separate shipping fees for each store even though it's a single shopping cart, and

      2. you sometimes can't find the same product across multiple stores in GE even though multiple stores carry it on their proper websites. It's like Google Express is trying to prevent stores from competing with each other on the same products.

  2. mattbg

    Here's why I use Amazon to search for products:

    1. Finding what's available in a category
    2. Reviews from confirmed buyers
    3. Finding related products in the same narrow category, based on what others looked at and ultimately bought, combined with #2

    Price shopping is not a big part of it. I wonder if Google aims to reproduce anything other than price comparison, and I wonder how they can even come close to reproducing the Amazon experience when they don't have access to purchase history.

    Wayfair has a whole other level of refinement for home furnishings that Amazon doesn't offer.

    "Comparing millions of items from thousands of stores" sounds pretty close to the opposite of what I want, just like how I don't care how many millions of search results Google returns - I just want the result to be in the first page of results and give me enough information to figure out if it might be what I'm looking for.

    Amazon is already ahead of them on integrating online and local shopping, even though they are not very far down that path.

    This doesn't sound like something Google would be prepared to commit to, given their history.

    I get why they're concerned, though - there's a lot of value in knowing this type of thing, just like there's value in knowing people's video and music streaming habits. Integrating all of that is potentially very useful, and Google has a very incomplete picture with them not being a leader in music or video streaming nor online shopping.

    Amazon is the only one that has the potential for 360 deg. visibility on music and video streaming habits plus purchasing habits in a way that companies like Disney with all of their cross-marketing prowess must envy quite a bit :)

  3. Chris Payne

    " is, of course, by design. Amazon currently dominates online shopping and is, by some estimates, responsible for one third and one half of all e-commerce."

    Do you mean _between_ one third and one half? Or one third plus one half, which equals 5/6?