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Google Shopping (Was Google Merchant Center) Forum

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Googles Froogle Shopping search goes Beta

 2:40 am on Dec 12, 2002 (gmt 0)




 6:18 am on Dec 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

dvduval, we're getting better at crawling dynamic sites, but I would recommend writing a letter or two to Miva and asking them to make more search-engine friendly pages. If we don't crawl those pages well, I'm guessing that most search engines don't crawl them well either.

In the meantime, if someone can post a few examples of urls using Miva, I'll ask our crawl ops group whether we can try to do better on those types of pages.

Hope that helps,


 6:18 am on Dec 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

The search still has a few glitches.

I searched on "(City name) travel" and found a listing for a map (with photo and price) from my site. Froogle obviously thought I was selling the map, but I wasn't--I was reviewing it, along with several others.

Then I searched on my name and found a couple of listings for my most recent book. No problem there--but I also found listings for pages that linked to my Web sites and happened to mention my name. (My Web sites aren't for sale, and I'm not, either!)

Still, it's a useful tool, and it's a great idea-starter for gifts, books, and such if you just enter a fairly broad topic and let Froogle toss a load of surprises into your lap.


 6:21 am on Dec 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

Hmmm, when you said pumps, I thought of shoes first. Air pumps gets you good stuff, and bicycle pumps will help with flat tires--what sort of pumps were you looking for?

I will pass that suggestion on though. Hopefully if people don't get what they expect, they'll be more specific, too.


 6:28 am on Dec 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

Wow - this is revolutionary! I really think it has the opportunity to have a big impact on the web.

Congrats GoogleGuy - very impressive move!


 6:31 am on Dec 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

Some suggestions to GoogleGuy (& Google lurkers), and my apologies for the longish post:

How about a "Rank from lowest to highest price / highest to lowest price" function for the results?

One thing Yahoo! Shopping has over Froogle is a means of factoring in customer ratings. This is one area where Google could make money _and_ add a new variable for determining relevancy.

The idea: charge merchants $X/month to be included in the "Froogle Customer Ratings" system. It would resemble a BizRate-type program where each customer was solicited for a post-receiving-order survey. The customer would rate the purchase experience on a scale from, say, 1 to 10. After a merchant had received enough customer ratings, their entries in Froogle would start displaying their customer rank value, and Froogle would be expected to factor that into results relevancy calculations.

Some problems: merchants would scream bloody murder about having to pay to be included this system, and there would be some risk of the appearance to consumers of Froogle's "selling out". Also, once implemented, some people would undoubtedly work overtime trying to rig the system, e.g., set up fictitious orders for the opportunity to send in bogus reviews.

This is one reason to charge for being in the system, so that Froogle can afford to spot-check the orders. No, you couldn't call up every customer to verify that the order was legit, but you could do it randomly and/or based on statistical flags ("Gee, they've only had 100 orders, but every single customer ranks them at 10..."). The threat of being dropped from the "Froogle Customer Ratings" system --or out-and-out banned-- would help Webmasters think twice about trying to game the system.

Some benefits: shopping search differs from regular search in that the person doing shopping search is necessarily anticipating spending money, so she's concerned with product availability, price, and, above all, not being scammed. Establishing a "Froogle Customer Ratings" system would address the scam fear.

There may be other ways to do this, too, but I think eventually customer feedback will have to be incorporated. (BTW, kudos on the front page Newsweek article, quite the milestone.)


 6:32 am on Dec 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

Is it GG, that when you think of pumps, shoes come to mind, then sorry, I think it's a regional thing. But I thought when one think of pumps, - it's like something that provides air - industrial pumps? Well guess it's a different hemisphere thing :( . Ok so does froogle rank sites, same as the the normal index? Guess it's better for GG to know & for us to find out.

[edited by: zechariah at 6:33 am (utc) on Dec. 12, 2002]


 6:32 am on Dec 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

It'd be really useful to be able to narrow down Froogle searches by country. I live in the UK, and so far all my Froogle searches have produced results with US-based sites, or maybe there were some UK sites in the mix as well but I couldn't tell just from the name. Maybe a tiny flag graphic could go next to each site name to show where the site is based. :)

The reason I look for UK sites is simply because it's easier to buy things locally than pay for overseas postage and have to wait ages for delivery.


 6:39 am on Dec 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

Winooski, I'll definitely pass those comments on back for people to mull over. You've clearly thought about this a lot. Zaccix and zechariah, I think we're trying to focus more on the US market for now and make sure we get the quality we want before we tackle different currencies and countries directly. I agree it's a lot easier to buy products locally than waiting for shipping though.

Other suggestions for what people would like to see?


 6:41 am on Dec 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

>>will we see a seperate bot for this to get freshness or will it be our same beloved googlebot? - 80 GET /product.jpg - 200 www.mysite.com Googlebot/2.1+(+http://www.googlebot.com/bot.html)

How about changing the UA to Frooglebot?


 6:46 am on Dec 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

Suggestion per GG's request: Image filtering, Ive run into some kinky images :P I don't mind but others may. Or maybe I just search for odd things :P


 6:49 am on Dec 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

This is really impressive! The only comments that I would make are that

1. The sub-categorization of products below the first two levels isn't very good. More categories would be nice.

2. There are a lot of duplicate listings for a single company, even without the "See all results from www.widgets.com" I would really like to see a lot more diversity of companies for any listing.

3. The "Advanced Froogle Search" is really nice, and helpful.

4. Where is the "cache" feature? How about the "similar to" feature?

Overall, very very nice stuff.


 6:55 am on Dec 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

Congrats on the Froogle. Very impressive. I am already going over my christmas list and seeing who has what I want. Hopefully I can get some shopping done earily this year. Another great tool from Google!


 7:20 am on Dec 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

More amazing stuff..

One nights sleep and I've missed a whole new development.

Some questions:

- I guess Europeans need to get their stuff in US shops?

- Sometimes prices do not show up, so this is not a prerequisite?

- The green bar on the ads do not show up?

- Will there be/is there a Froogle.bot?


 7:20 am on Dec 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

wow ...

wow ... this changes everything ...

still needs some work though [froogle.google.com...]


 7:42 am on Dec 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

Yay, I'm glad that people are liking it. wasmith, low melting point metal might not be your typical product. But I do appreciate the feedback though. :)

[GoogleGuy yawns]

Speaking of low melting point metals, is anybody else here sleepy? I'm gonna go nap for a bit. Catch y'all later--and I'm looking forward to hearing more good suggestions from you..

[edited by: GoogleGuy at 8:10 am (utc) on Dec. 12, 2002]


 7:48 am on Dec 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

Its a long way off before this comes out of beta. I'm not hanging my hat on what I see NOW. Lots of time for study.

Anyone remember how long news search was in beta? It was like 6 months wasn't it?

Basically Froogle is like your Sunday's paper flyers - only the big stores are in there.

Maybe for your search terms, but I just searched for a specific digital camera I'm thinking about buying and was quite pleased to find LOTS of smaller stores with better prices than the few big guys that were in the listings.

How about a "Rank from lowest to highest price / highest to lowest price" function for the results?

Great call, Winooski -- that would be my #1 suggestion, too.

Thanks, GoogleGuy, for sticking around and answering so many questions.


 8:04 am on Dec 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

Woohoo, I get to be the first one to say it....

When will the Froogle update start?


 8:23 am on Dec 12, 2002 (gmt 0)
[small]<== slaps steveb upside the head[/small]

Miva has a module to shorten the URLs but I've not seen it used. Their URLs are atrocious and search engines do_not like them at all. I put the cart in robots.txt for exclusion and just forget the pages are there. Some web designers do only a flat index page and the whole rest of the site is those pages. Ugh! They should be kinder to the crawlers. Some Cold Fusion sites aren't much better.

This is what a Miva page looks like - exactly, except for the domain name not being used:

http://example.com/Merchant2/merchant.mv? Screen=CTGY &Store_Code=MMB &Category_Code=ODD

Individual product page:

http://example.com/Merchant2/merchant.mv? Screen=PROD&Store_Code=MMB &Product_Code=KR25B &Product_Count=0 &Category_Code=B

Longer yet with the www included. That is one sorry URL there :(


 8:51 am on Dec 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

just did a search for a keyword product and got three casino sites and a porn site. :(



 8:52 am on Dec 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

Googleguy >> Hmmm, when you said pumps, I thought of shoes first.

I'm not trying to be a wise guy but hop over to the Overture search tool at [inventory.overture.com...] and enter the keyword 'pumps' and see the search terms a SEO would think people are looking for when doing a search for 'pumps'. Womens pumps, which I only assume are shoes, are 23rd on the list. Their second occurence is around 50th on the list.

Enter 'pumps' in the Froogle search window and you get nothing but women's shoes, and a book on women's shoes, on the first and second pages.

Finally, enter the word 'pumps' in the Google web search window and you'll see that the results are a lot closer to being 'on the money' than Froogle.

This example may give some insight into the power of optimiztion. SEO's lean toward pushing pages people are most likely to be searching for toward the top of the serps. It's a human weighting element that outshines any algorithm.


 9:02 am on Dec 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

GG probably fast asleep now... but not to worry... questions arise anyway.

>>I guess Europeans need to get their stuff in US shops? <<

Yes, that's an interesting issue. Why the restriction?

Next question.... I have informational sites with one or two niche products sold on them... I would have thought ideal products for Froogle, as there are not too many alternatives around.

However, the credit card payment mechanism used is bespoke, sort of. I use ShareIT for some, and home written one for others.

None of these products show up... even though the web sites are US based and the products are in dollars.

Anyway forward with this for inclusion? Will the manual data-feed work?


 9:20 am on Dec 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

much like daven... when I searched my name for the heck of it, it returned 2 sites and one of them was a site that sells porn on dvd. relevancy? maybe I was a porn star back in the eighties... who knows it was a hazy time... stranger things have happened...;)


 9:35 am on Dec 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

GG, I got a question about the feed.

Onc this thing takes off, people will start comparing prices.
How are you going to verify that the prices in the feed are the same as on the target site?

Will it be the same "turn your competitor in" thing, which probably is the most effective way?


 10:04 am on Dec 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

Has anyone looked at the date google registered www.froogle.com?

September 11th 2001

Ring any bells?


 10:10 am on Dec 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

  • You realize seller's will gouge on shipping so they get more eyeballs to their listing?! Unless you can accurately measure shipping costs, item price is not very meaningful.
  • It'd be cool if Froogle could tie in with other review/rating systems out there for certain categories. For computer hardware, I know resellerratings [resellerratings.com] could tie in with Froogle. Others like eBay, half.com, or Amazon could be used as well to view the "public reputation" of the store.
  • musicales

     10:22 am on Dec 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

    xcandyman - that was the best day to do anything without anyone else noticing!


     10:25 am on Dec 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

    This is a great development....I think!

    I'd like to see Froogle becoming the shopping arm of Google properly. It would be great to take out all those shopping results from the main Google index and free up the bots to get more unique content from the web, because as other search engines show - maybe not with the same Google relevancy - there are some great sites out there that can't compete with a manufactured link pop of 20,000 and aren't commercial.

    And besides...wasn't that what the web was about anyway!


    [edited by: GlynMusica at 10:37 am (utc) on Dec. 12, 2002]


     10:26 am on Dec 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

    How are you going to verify that the prices in the feed are the same as on the target site?

    Maybe they would crawl price pages in a daily basis ("fresh" pages)?

    Anyway, I think Froogle may become a severe problem for web sites like mine, which gathers visitors thanks to good and independent -not like some other "brand influended" sites- content (product reviews, opinions, news, forums... updated every day and always improving) but it's only profitable thanks to affiliation programs to online retailers which in a future may think it's more profitable to appear only in Froogle.

    My only hope would be Froogle not to focus in regional European markets for a long time.

    Bad news (I think) for us :(


     10:31 am on Dec 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

    It's good and bad. Good if it can crawl the little independent shops and bad because it's the end of affiliate marketing for the little guy as we know it. Honestly. Tsk... I dunno, bleed me dry why don't ya! ;)


     10:37 am on Dec 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

    >> if it can crawl the little independent shops <<

    The answer to which will be a measure of Google's regard (or lack of it) for small independents.


     10:40 am on Dec 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

    My first thought was that it is a little scarey for affiliates, but after review, I don't think it's quite the threat that it seems. I think as long as you continue to build quality content, people reading that content are as likely now as before to follow your affiliate link. I think if they do come up with a price ranking formula, it's a little more scary, but honestly, how many average users are even gonna be aware of froogle? Probably not gonna make as huge an impact as some of you guys suggest? I have never used the google directory, and never would have even looked for it had I not come to webmaster world. I think average surfers are faily robotic in thier web usage. It will take alot to get them to change from the regular google search to a froogle search. I think anyways

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