The Complete Idiot's Guide

Growing Your Business With Google
By Dave Taylor

Coming soon: Google Shopping?

I've just spent much of the last few days discussing Google with a sharp reporter from Fortune Small Business. We spent most of our time talking about strategic directions for the company, asking questions about how free wi-fi, Open Office via Sun Microsystems, and the Google toolbar all fit together (and, yes, they do), but what's most stuck in my head is trying to figure out the answer to the question:

    Froogle + Google Base = ?

For a long time I've paid close attention to Froogle, Google's shopping engine, waiting for the company to put some energy into really making it a full member of the Google family. But still, even with yet another facelift, it languishes and isn't discussed or used very much, as far as I can see. And yet compared to just about any other online "shopping engine'", Froogle has two fabulous things going for it from a vendor's perspective: inclusion in Froogle is free and Froogle = Google.

So what's missing? Why isn't Froogle a compelling and interesting shopping engine?

One place to look is Yahoo Shopping: with its aggregation of thousands of Yahoo stores, Yahoo Shopping is in fact a splendid place to research purchases and compare prices. (and shopping in the future will be all about price as we move into a fully commoditized future, the implications of which my co-author and I explore in our upcoming book Let Go To Grow).

The only stores and products represented in Yahoo Shopping, however, are those that are actually paying the monthly fee to have a Yahoo Store. If you already have an ecommerce solution or online store, is it really worth it to have a duplicate store at Yahoo just to get into their shopping engine? (perhaps, there are certainly some high-profile vendors that also have a presence on Yahoo Shopping, including Crabtree & Evelyn, Cirque du Soleil, Vermont Teddy Bear and the Guggenheim)

Another site to compare is Amazon's merchant program. Amazon is perhaps more interesting than Yahoo because it has its own store, plus it has a high-level partnership with a small number of larger merchants (including Borders, J&R Music, and Toys "R" Us), and then it has thousands of smaller merchants offering products through Amazon Marketplace or even Amazon auctions. But, again, to get into the Amazon world of online shopping, you have to pay and you have to sell through their system.

Doesn't it seem that the 800-pound gorilla, Google, should be able to eclipse these sort of solutions with its free-for-merchants alternative?

There are other players in the shopping engine world too, of course, including the slowly decreasing set of shopping comparison sites like and NexTag, but they're easily matched and are frankly lackluster services anyway.

What about eBay? Well, eBay is another company that is very savvy and it's no surprise to see that more and more of the transactions on the site are non-auction transactions: eBay now has a bunch of different selling formats, including fixed price, best offer, store inventory, and more. eBay is an interesting contender as a shopping engine, especially with its earlier acquisition and absorption of, but, again, there's the same limitation: you can't have your products in the eBay engine unless you pay to include them.

And so we circle back to Google and its Froogle engine.

The main problem with Froogle, in my opinion, is that it's too darn hard to add products to the system. It's a puzzling text-only file format that takes quite a while to master (I discuss it in my Google book, actually).

But put Froogle and Google Base together and all of a sudden you solve the problem. No worry about weird or tedious data formats, and a simple web-based data management system for inventory pops up. In fact, here's proof from Google that this is where things are heading:

New! If you have a physical store, visit Google Base to upload your inventory and display it on Froogle's local shopping results.

Where's that bullet point located? On the Froogle Welcome Page, right up top.

So now we can see the answer start to crystallize:

    Froogle + Google Base = Google Shopping

That's the equation. Stay tuned, we're going to see a much bigger push from Google in this area. It's a very logical direction for growth, and the combination of Google Shopping and the increasingly sophisticated geotargeting ad options through AdWords are going to usher in a new generation of online shopping for all of us, a venue where any merchant will be able to have their products listed in what will quickly become the #1 shopping engine on the Web (do you doubt it?)

If you're a shopper, don't forget to use Froogle for researching prices and competitive offerings, and if you're a merchant now's the time to start connecting your inventory management system with Google Base to ensure that you're in Froogle.

It's the next big thing.

This article was originally published as Next Up: Google Shopping on my Intuitive Life Business Blog.

Category: Google Q&A   (Article #4400)
There are no comments on this article yet.

I do have a comment, now that you mention it!

Remember personal info?

Please note that I will never send you any unsolicited email or communication. Ever. I hate it just as much as you do.

While I'm at it, please note that by submitting a question or comment you're agreeing to my terms of service, which are: you relinquish any subsequent rights of ownership to your material by submitting it on this site.

Growing Your Business with Google
Buy The Book!

Site Contents
Blogging News
Google Q&A
Growing Your Business
Inside The Book
Reviews and Testimonials
Search Engine News
Updates for Readers
Buy the book!
About Dave Taylor


Subscribe in NewsGator Online

Get Updates via Email!
sent monthly


Archives by Category
Blogging News
New Wordpress release, a must-have for security and features
Google Friends Newsletter for April, 2006
What's your opinion of these blogs?
Crafting the Ideal Business Blog Comment Strategy
Come up to speed on Business Blogging @ The Blog Business Summit

Google Q&A
AdSense moving to video ads?
Should I integrate AdSense in my site design?
Does domain name affect search engine ranking?
Why don't I rank highly for all relevant searches?
Stuck in the Google sandbox or delisted?
Coming soon: Google Shopping?
Can I add new Web sites to my Google AdSense account?
How to read Google AdSense reports
Can I have AdSense and other Ads on my site simultaneously?
Does AdSense for Search pay less than AdSense for Content?
How do I target AdWords to specific Web sites?
Can DNS changes affect your Search Engine Results Placement?
Google AdSense adds "Advertise on this site"?
Exactly what does Google PageRank mean?
Does Googlebot visit more often because of my blog?
How do I optimize my Web site for a specific key word?
How much do I need to bid on Google AdWords for keywords?
Why Text Links are Better than Graphic Links
Does Google Consider My Site a Link Farm?
What's New at Google?
Paid for SEO but I still have PageRank 0?

Growing Your Business
Welcome, Entrepreneur!
Join me in Chicago for the System Seminar and learn even more about Internet marketing
Learn about business writing with a free ebook
Announcing the Growing Your Business with Google workshop!
How to Get Started with Google AdSense
How quickly should companies respond to customer email?
LinkedIn + BusinessWeek poll = connection spam?
Tips for getting more traffic to your blog
Search Engine Friendly, or Easy Navigation?
The Table of Contents

Inside The Book
Foreword, by Guy Kawasaki
Introduction to the Book
Increasing Your Business Visibility (chapter 1)
The Benefits of Increasing Your Visibility (Chapter 2)
What Is Google Anyway? (Chapter 3)
Learning about Google Search (Chapter 4)
Disassembling the Google Search Engine (Chapter 5)
What's Your Core Business? (Chapter 6)
Living in an Online World (Chapter 7)
Your Business Website (Chapter 8)
Assessing Your Competitors (Chapter 9)
Keeping Track of Customers (Chapter 10)
The Basics of Building A Good Business Site (Chapter 11)
Developing Online and Offline Content (Chapter 12)
Stretching Your Marketing Dollars (Chapter 13)
Secrets of the Online Marketing Masters (Chapter 14)
Content, Content, Content! (Chapter 15)
Becoming a More Popular Site (Chapter 16)
Becoming an Online Expert (Chapter 17)
Advertising Your Business with Google AdWords (Chapter 18)
Making Money with Google AdSense (Chapter 19)
The Advantages of Affiliate Programs (Chapter 20)
Avoiding Dumb Online Promotional Mistakes (Chapter 21)
Growing and Expanding Your Content (Chapter 22)
The Future of Findability (Chapter 23)

Reviews and Testimonials
Falesa Adkins says...
Mark McGuinness says...
Holli says...
NetworkWorld's James Gaskin says...
Craig Swanson says...
Andrew Sikorski says...
David Teten says...
Dan Janal says...
Robin Stavisky says...
Skip Uldriks says...
Don Bell says...
Vincent Wright says...
Andrew Goodman says...
Denise O'Berry says...
Thomas Duff Says...
Kevin Farnham says...
David Karlins says...
Tom Peters says...
Janet Attard says...
Jim Sterne says...
Gregg Stebben says...
Nick Usborne says...
Robert Scoble says...
Chris Pirillo says...
Rajesh Setty says...
Brad Fallon says...
Bill French says...
Debbie Weil says...
Andy Mindel says...
Andrew Goodman says...
Initial "Growing Your Business with Google" Press Release

Search Engine News
Google Friends Newsletter, Sept 2008
Bill Gates: The Age of Software-Powered Communications
Google Friends Newsletter - April 2007
Beta announcement of Google AdSense Referrals
Enabling Secure Anywhere Access in a Connected World
Google Friends Newsletter
Google Launches Hosted Communications Services
AdWords now has fraud analysis accessible to advertisers
Google doesn't support click fraud. But isn't that obvious?
Welcome to Google's online payment system, Google Checkout
Google now offers Ad Scheduling for AdWords
AdSense click fraud done by robots?
AdSense: Google's Hidden Payroll
Fun new Google service: Movie info
Google agrees to pay $90 mln in click fraud suit
Latest news from Google: Google Friends Newsletter
Nofollow: Another salvo in the Spam Wars
Google Toolbar Gets Personal
Yahoo Search redesign scheduled?
Note from the Google AdSense Team
What's the future of Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising?
New Google AdWords Keyword System Released

Updates for Readers
Blogging for Search Engine Results
Why does advertising site Chitika audit commission payments?
Google Adsense Update: Section Targeting
Understanding "link:" results (book errata)

Join the List!
Join my author info mailing list, where you'll learn about my upcoming books, speaking gigs, and more!

Book Links
Powered by
Movable Type

sitemap | link to us!