Google has launched a UK beta version of it’s shopping search tool called “Froogle” that the company claims is the most comprehensive product search engine available on the web.
Searches are done by use of keywords (as with normal Google serches) and results are limited to one product per store. Each result displays a thumbnail image of the product to the left, with the product’s name, price and description listed to the right of the thumbnail. The store where the product is available is also listed, along with a link to see all results related to your keyword that are available at that particular merchant.
Froogle’s emphasis is on helping users find products, rather than providing product information, reviews, and other associated information found on other shopping search services.
“Froogle shines particularly well with some of the more esoteric queries,” said Jonathan Rosenberg, Google Vice President of Product Management. This is because Google has tried to build a one of the most extensive product search tools available on the web, going for both breadth and depth of coverage.
Results are determined by an algorithm that’s similar to Google’s PageRank method used for determining ordinary web search results. There’s no paid inclusion or any other way for merchants to influence the way their products are presented in results, says Rosenberg.
“Data in Froogle comes from two sources,” said Rosenberg. “Merchant feeds, and the rest is a crawl of web pages that identifies product offers.”
Merchants provide product information to Froogle via FTP. Rosenberg says that Google encourages merchants to send updates frequently, to keep the information as fresh as possible.
Rosenberg says that unlike other shopping search services, Google has no plans to charge merchants to include their products in Froogle. Merchants can sign up to be included in Froogle by using the “Information for Merchants” link below. Email Google with details of your site, and they’ll send you specific instructions for submitting a data feed in the required format.
The launch of Froogle UK is good news for WNW Design clients that are currently operating an ecommerce site, particularly those run using Actinic, as this program has the ability to export a Froogle data feed built in.