Google Product Search will force retailers to provide unique identifiers through feeds
Google Product Search
In a post entitled “Improving the Product Search experience”, Google has announced it will require unique identifiers to be provided through data feed for specific categories (emphasis is mine):
Over the past year, we’ve launched a number of exciting features on Google Product Search. Users can now access YouTube videos, product reviews, and other information from a single page about a product – what we call a “product page.” (For example, see this product page for a Canon Rebel camera). Users appreciate this information, and we want to make sure your product offers are included on these product pages. To do this, we’ll need your help – starting in late August, product offers in the Electronics, Books, and Media categories from US merchants may not appear in Product Search if your data feed does not include the necessary unique product identifiers, such as MPN, Brand, GTIN/UPC/EAN or ISBN. We will make similar changes to Product Search in the UK and Germany at a later date.
This may sound anecdotal, but for me it is an important announcement:
- When using the search of Google Product Search, this will ensure there won’t be any detached offers from the corresponding product, which is an important findability flaw that is underestimated by most shopping engines (how to ensure the offers displayed in a product page contain the best deal for that product?).
- If Google succeeds at forcing merchants to give codes (and it will for sure), it’s clear other CSEs will follow (if retailers can give codes to Google, then they can give them to other CSEs as well). This is especially true in Europe where it has always been difficult to get reliable codes from merchants. For those CSEs that will follow Google, matching offers and products using codes will be far more reliable than using text analysis matching algorithms, so the quality of product page will increase (no more accessories wrongly attached to a product).
- If this first step is successful, we can imagine Google pushing those new rules to other categories; and progressively enable product clustering on most categories (similar to what Bing Shopping currently offers).
Offers detached from corresponding product and leading to findability flaw in current Google Product Search: