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This 31 message thread spans 2 pages: 31 ( [1] 2 > >     
Rumor: Google develops product search
200 US dealers (Amazon, eBay, CDNOW, ...) participating

 4:27 pm on Oct 9, 2002 (gmt 0)

Remember the discussion Google in the year 2009. Semantic web and RDF [webmasterworld.com]? Seems to come true.

According to a German article on heise online, Google is developing a product search [heise.de].

According to heise online, Google is working on a new search categorie. Google is creating a product database. Three months ago, they asked approx. 200 US dealers, e.g., Amazon, E-Bay or CDNOW to "share" their product databases. All participants were asked to sign a NDA.

heise online has quite a good reputation in Germany. I believe them.



 4:28 pm on Oct 9, 2002 (gmt 0)

Alright, so who did Google P.O. to make them break their NDA?


jeremy goodrich

 4:35 pm on Oct 9, 2002 (gmt 0)

That sounds like a reasonable extension of their 'catalog' search...after I read through some of the university research from the Google founders, any kind of data mining with $$ money at the end involving web sites / spiders seems fair game for their business.

Wonder when it'll launch?


 6:05 am on Oct 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

nice find Luma,

whether its true or not, just amagine being CDNOW and Google giving you a call on the introduction of this new tab.

CDNOW knows Google's incredible market power.

However, should I hand over my complete product database to Google?

If I don't everyone will buy their CD's with Amazon through Google.

If I do, everyone will be able to quickly compare CDNOW's prices/catalog with Amazons'.

I have no choice. Google, here are my products...and yes you may charge me for listing my products next year. ;)


 6:28 am on Oct 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

If true, this could have tremendous implications (not good) for anyone selling products via web sites that would not be included in the Google product search.

From the point of view of an online buyer, though, its a cool idea.


 6:40 am on Oct 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

Has anyone seen an online comparison site they really liked and that worked well?

I heard a lot of media talk about mysimon.com but never liked it...even epinions.com doesn't work well as far as I've been able to use it.

The problem is, one dealer may be 2 cents cheaper but their service is bad and with hidden fees it isn't even cheapest...

Although google has done a tremendous job with a lot of things, comparison shopping is a lot harder nut to crack than it looks like at first.


 6:45 am on Oct 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

Well, this could go two ways. If they have ridiculous fees for small retailers to join the service I will be hopping mad. Really, really mad. But if they also include the "little guys" in the deal at prices that reflect their smallness but sweetness, then that would be excellent.

PLEASE Google - do not forget the smaller Internet retailers!
It's like those darn Internet listing books. They always list Amazon, eBay, CDnow etc... Every 'flippin issue! There are thousands of other great shops by smaller companies on the web offering superb services...

Question: Affiliate marketing - what will happen to the little guys trying to make some money out of the web now?

[edited by: nutsandbolts at 9:32 am (utc) on Oct. 10, 2002]


 7:53 am on Oct 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

Has anyone seen an online comparison site they really liked and that worked well?

There once was a good book comparison site called acses(?). It was a student project and worked really well. Then it got bought and changed names to evenbetter. Then they got bought and changed names and are now part of evita. Some where it between they screwed it. I really liked it.

Question: Affiliate marketing - what will happen to the little guys trying to make some money out of the web now?

Good question. Guess they won't make it on the product tab. But if on the other hand, Amazon doesn't show up in the regular SERPs (they now often do) there'll be an empty slot. :) You will just have to have good content to get the regular searchers or focus on international buyers. Product search will mostly apply to US customers, I assume.


 5:32 pm on Oct 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

If true i'd be very interested to hear what the US Govenment makes of it because this will undoubtedly have a negitive impact on thousands of internet businesses. It could be seen as 'anti-competitive conduct'.


 5:41 pm on Oct 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

Has anyone seen an online comparison site they really liked and that worked well?
- I like pricegrabber. The total price (including shipping) is calculated based on your zip code.

 9:48 pm on Oct 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

Forgive me, but what's an NDA, and what are the implications of signing such a thing?


 9:52 pm on Oct 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

An NDA is a non-disclosure agreement. Violating the terms of an NDA can result in litigation. Agreeing not to talk, then talking is the easiest way to win enemies and influence judges. :)


 6:31 pm on Oct 11, 2002 (gmt 0)

I thought it was Non-[something]-agreement, disclosure didn't click.



 6:49 pm on Oct 11, 2002 (gmt 0)

This will sure affect the many small businesses selling stuff in the web . But hey , eventually it will come ... small businesses will be flushed out of the internet just like the chain super markets (walmart) killed small mom-pop stores. :)

This will be very smart move and it will be sure a money spinner for google...think what if google gets a cut from the every sale it makes ! .

This will make Google as the Biggest affiliate marketer in the world :)


 8:08 pm on Oct 11, 2002 (gmt 0)

Google keeps moving into new frontiers. I don't know about you guys but thier catlog search isn't that good at all.

NDA stands for "Non Discloser Agreement" in most cases.


 8:49 pm on Oct 11, 2002 (gmt 0)

Price comparison sites are not what they could be.

For example: One supplier supplies a product for $3.99, another for $4.99. Both claim free carriage. But the first supplier needs a $50 minimum order. I want three, so the second supplier is actually better for me.

Example 2: One supplier suppliers a producst for $3.99, another for $4.99. The first charges $1.99 for packing. If I want one, the first supplier is cheaper, but if I want five, the second is cheaper.

Let's hope Google can do a better job than previous/current attempts ;)


 4:07 am on Oct 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

This type of thing does not lend itself well to automation. Purchasing products to use is not the same as doing a search, reading the news or anything like that. There are too many intangibles for the consumer to tell much of value from these things. Ever look for a good webhost on the net? CNet has a fabulous database set up. You can find host for $1. Feel comfortable trusting your business to that?

Similar story. This is a problem they won't solve well in my opinion. Some product categories, the ones that are more like commodities? Maybe. Comparing a few major outfits, like books on Amazon vs. BNoble? Maybe...but as a whole? Never. Just MHO of course.


 9:59 pm on Oct 14, 2002 (gmt 0)

There seems a tendency on this board to say whatever google does is great and clever. I don't see I have to share that view.

Price comparisons can be valuable for consumers trying to buy various commodity items or specific branded items. But people often buy on more than price.

The higher the value of the purchase or the more customisable, the less comparisons can be automated and the more non price items matter to decision makers.

There is the other aspect as regards google's strategy, does it want to be a jack of all trades?

This imho is the beginning of the downfall of many of the large high street retailers, they seem to really believe their own publicity that they can sell anything ...

e.g Yahoo now ..
what is its core competence?
at what is it a leader?

remember .. telex machines, ibm, the industrial and national empires that have passed and are yet to pass

Google is a young outfit which has to date done well at .. search .. why? well a special reason is because it had a very powerful friend in Yahoo who did its PR for it.

Online retailers will go with this plan if they think it gives them a commercial advantage, they don't have to do it - there are plently of alternatives and if key players did not join then it would be the plan that would fail - not the key player - if they do this it will be because they feel there is significant benefit in it for them..

What does it mean that you find a company at the top of any search results,

Think like a consumer now not an SEO:

it means only .. they were at the top of the search results .. it does not mean their product is any better, their service is any better, they are likely to be around any longer .. only that "they were at the top of the search results"

It is certainly in the interests of companies to be there (as it could be to be at the top of a products database) but how does that make it in the interested of consumers who will be the users of the service?


 12:12 am on Oct 15, 2002 (gmt 0)

There is a price comparison site that I use very regularly and buy from:


Its dirty looking but very efficient.


 1:08 am on Oct 15, 2002 (gmt 0)

Amazon has had a menu database for about 6 months. This product allows you to keyword search menus from major restaurants in six U.S. cities.

It utilizes OCR and allows you to view scanned pages like Google Catalogs.

Amazon Menus [amazon.com]


 2:39 pm on Oct 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

Existing price comparison sites are not perfect ... but they are pretty good for items where price is all (eg CDs, DVDs, Books).

Whatever movie you want, there's a good chance of finding someone who'll sell it cheaper, or post free. And while you may get a few dud references (about 1 in 10, I reckon) the second try will like as not deliver nearly as good.

If Google can refine this (and if the Big Boys 'lend' their inventories, that's likely) then they have a winner - all they need do is add an affiliate tag.

It will damage existing affiliates, but is unlikely to harm any business with a compatible database. On past form, Google will want to be the best - and that means biggest, in terms of sources.

For the consumer, there's no down side - it's bound to be at least as good as the existing engines, and, because it's Google, customers will trust it not to favor a particular dealer.

Don't you get sick of comparisons that try to send you to B**ks*m*ll**n - never cheapest, but, I guess, pays more to affiliates :)


 10:23 pm on Oct 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

@Mark_A: It's not about being at the top of the search results. It's about a new category: product search. You would use google to search for a product. And either your business is in Google's product database or it's not. Now, if someone does a product search (as opposed to regular search), they are more likely to buy the product.

Example: Right now, if you do a regular search for "Harry Potter", you will get fan pages, offical web pages, whatever but none or hardly any product pages (from merchants) except some sponsored links and ads. If you search for "Harry Potter" in the product search, you'll get Harry Potter books from Amazon, Harry Potter DVDs from CDNOW, and auctions from eBay selling HP goods. It will probably even show the price! One click will take you to the product, another click and you're sold.

Trust me, if this is true, it'll be BIG.


 12:16 am on Oct 23, 2002 (gmt 0)

Very insightful Luma, I see the logic behind it. I think this reflects with some of the stuff people are saying about how to improve search - this would be the next step to separate info from ecom.

I keep coming back to this - will this effectively wipe out SEO's, affiliates, and small retailers on the web? Is the end hiding behind a still bright horizon?


 12:54 am on Oct 23, 2002 (gmt 0)

As i said before this will make google the biggest affiliate merchant in the world.

If the technology is good and if people like it then sure this will be the BIGGEST MONEY SPINNER for google... bigger than adwords or search appliance . Think how much sales google is now generating for other sites and what if google gets a cut from this sales ...truely unlimited revenue possibilities.

Making people use the product search will not be a problem...just default to product search if a product name is typed in the search box :)

And it will not be a Public relation disaster for them since site rankings is still determined by computer algo's and not by any advertiser money !

They can easily extend this technology to other non tangible services like say , Travel ...

Good for Google ...Good for Surfers


 3:31 am on Oct 23, 2002 (gmt 0)

Hmmm.. I think the line between info & ecom content is'nt so defined.

Think of a site with rich, valuable, useful info, but at the same time offering something to buy, or "affiliated marketing".

Would have the owners of this site to go "confined" in a "product area", only because they also sell something?

Folks, I love to put good stuff on web.. what is the harm if I want to make from that some $$?
The answer is that Google owns, in fact, the streets of this info-traffic, so maybe now G. thinks we must start paying a tax.

This is the cruel truth, I fear.



 4:30 am on Oct 23, 2002 (gmt 0)

Personally.. I think that would suck if google went that way.. it would show greed and well just wouldnt be good.. I suspect it would only be on google and not on aol and the rest of the million engines they power.. this would wipe out ohh so many businesses though by the big boys.. and personally would leave me so turned off to google.. as I have said before if I want to buy from the big boys I will go to their store or their website.. I know they exist.. I am looking for my other options.. many of these types of things exist..cnet, pricewatch, yahoo shopping, ebay... i really dont think the biggest search of them all needs to go this route.. it would have to big of an impact... well thats my two cents.. I am focused more on ink and msn now anyhow since they seem to provide larger total sales and seem to pull as much traffic as google.. well for me atleast...


 6:48 am on Oct 23, 2002 (gmt 0)

Very interesting discussion. Yeah, it could be very good, in other ways bad...as a consumer in a way I like it, but it will probably harm smaller players..


 9:21 am on Oct 23, 2002 (gmt 0)

I really dont think the biggest search of them all needs to go this route

Google is a business, like any other; it's seen pricewatch, pricescanner, pricegrabber; it's seen that they've been set up 'on the outside', and has realised that it has the muscle to get on the inside, to do it better by working with the big boys.

Google might even have said "You guys pay out 5% affiliate fees, work with us, and we'll send you even more trade for 4%" And why not?

It will squeeze every other affiliate site, it will squeeze every other 'comparison engine' and it will force every small seller to conform to Google standards or be excluded.

The process of busines consolidation on the web is young; this is a sign of it growing up!

Note: Don't forget this was just a rumor ... but even if it was not so, after Google reads this thread, it will be! :)


 1:00 pm on Oct 23, 2002 (gmt 0)

one other thing.. as if the internet is not bad enough to shop on with all these part timers running ecommerce sites... picture if google really did do something like this and put the crunch on the small guy.. well i for one would go get a job working in the medical field again.. keep my website and fulfill orders when i got home at night. i would be stupid not to keep the site up with all the thousands of hours that have gone into it.. would people get top notch service? Not even a chance.. I would turn off my rating system and people would think i was excellent and theirs a new sucker everyday.. and a million other people would do the same I am sure and really... ecommerce would be dead cause people would always get this crappy service from the million other people do the same thing... I would be making a healthy side income thats for sure.... so people need to think sometimes..


 5:35 pm on Oct 23, 2002 (gmt 0)

Yes , sure this move will kill affiliate sites and small players...but we have to understand that Google's have no responsiblity for webmasters...their only concern is searchers ...they want to keep searchers happy by new innovations and in the process they want to make some money , period .

This product search will sure be helpful to users and at the same time fill Google's coffers ...Users will not care if google is getting commissions as long as the search results are honest. If they just want information about the product and not want to buy ,there is the normal google search...

This is a perfect business model for google to monetize their user base without any complaints from searchers...

This will make google almost like ebay...getting a cut in each transaction it facilitates :) ...

This 31 message thread spans 2 pages: 31 ( [1] 2 > >
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