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Googles Froogle Shopping search goes Beta

 2:40 am on Dec 12, 2002 (gmt 0)




 5:55 am on Dec 13, 2002 (gmt 0)

Hmmmm. It appears folks can do a whole lot of adult video shopping on Froogle, too.

[edited by: Beachboy at 6:33 am (utc) on Dec. 13, 2002]


 6:01 am on Dec 13, 2002 (gmt 0)

Freesource said:

I understand your point Dave coming from a person whose site is powered by Microsoft's .asp so I see the biasness. Unix and open source can be called freebie but it does the job just as well Microsoft.

I dislike M$ as much as the next person. I write my webpage in asp because its easy for someone who's not a full time (self-educated at that) programmer to use. There was absoloutely no bias towards M$ in my post, I was just stating the simple fact the 99.9% of people who will be using froogle arent going to be looking for something for free.


 7:12 am on Dec 13, 2002 (gmt 0)

I arrived at work this morning to find an email from a journalist at the Wall Street Journal Online asking a whole bunch of questions about my views on this service.
(I had made a non-serious 1 line post to a newsgroup mentioning it and it came up on the first page of the Google Groups results.)

I don't know if my submission made the deadline as the email had arrived overnight. Does anyone have a subscription to the WSJ to check?



 7:27 am on Dec 13, 2002 (gmt 0)

Chuma, I hope you were glowing. :) Helpmebe1, Sergey is a straight-up guy. It can be rare in business to find people trying to make money and do the right thing ethically too. Larry and Sergey think about that all the time, and most of the time that comes through in news stories. I'm pretty proud of our record so far--I'd stack it up well against any other company's.

Okay, enough meta-discussion. Any last questions I can help with on Froogle? Sounds like born2drv is getting on the feed; 6000 products is a lot to sell. :)


 7:36 am on Dec 13, 2002 (gmt 0)

Trust me, I am not a young guy.. not an old guy either :) but been around and worked for billion dollar companies. I know business is business. When one holds alot of power and can devistate lives all over the world, one should use caution and not just greed. Ya know? I didnt like how he came off like well screw everyone else I am getting mine. One should be responsible in what one does when it effects alot of people. It usually makes one stand out and win people over. Its also respect, I dont think sergie is exactly strugging to survive if ya know what I mean. Well thats all I have to say.. just my 2 cents.. Would also had to see Google slip up, until now Google is a pretty good thing, both as a business owner and as a joe public who uses it. As one other person said, one should be careful when one holds the cards of many peoples income in their hands and not just focus on greed.


 7:51 am on Dec 13, 2002 (gmt 0)

GoogleGuy, do you think it will ever do currency conversions based on current rates? It would be great if you could choose a currency to convert to and view prices like that. I know that this is just a beta, and you've probably got enough to figure out already, but it would make a great feature.


 8:20 am on Dec 13, 2002 (gmt 0)

Mario11779, Not sure if you noticed, I was #5 to post in this thread! (I'm as a bit obsessed with WebmasterWorld, I know)... so I saw it when it was only live for a very short period of time and signed up right away.... guess I was one of the very first to get in the email "queue" :) I'm sure they'll catch up with all the rest of you guys ;)

Beachboy, I noticed a fair amount of adult related stuff as well. For fun, I searched for "[my city] escorts" to see if I could compare hourly rates, but no such luck... not that I would use these services, just curious ;)

Googleguy, I have a bit of a dilema, in I have alot of customizeable products. 5000 of my 6000 items are legitimate seperate items no problems there, I'll be submitting those 5000 for sure.

The other 1000, however are completely customizable products, with 3 "custom" fields, one field offering 2 options (like male/female), another with 10 (like 10 colors), the last field has 5 options (like 5 sizes).

So in theory I could generate a spredsheet with all the possible combinations of products and submit 1000x2x10x5=100,000 items in place of those last 1000. I'm not sure if Google would like that though, so I guess I'll stick with offering only 1 variation of each of the 1000 "main" customizable products. What do you think Google would prefer? I wonder if their shopping directory will be fully indexed and assigned a page rank for all items much like their regular directory from DMOZ is now. Then it would be very adventageous for owners to make many multiple products for PR benefit.


 8:30 am on Dec 13, 2002 (gmt 0)

looks impressive! goodthing i dont sell products but services! i would belvie that more and more people would use this froogle when searching for products - i see a lot of headaches in future for product sellers who are now toping SE results...

google is now getting in all areas of web,everything they do - they are alsmot imediatelly dominant at everything.....impressive but scary on one side.soon there will be no intenret anymore but just googlenet! Even more odd - someone already registered this name and name SkyNet appears there - whcih was the first thing that came to my mind after seeing this thread! One big "computer" or network that "controls everything" designed to benefit all humanity..google is going on that way...hm, but we all know what came out of Skynet don we? ;)

[edited by: JonB at 8:33 am (utc) on Dec. 13, 2002]


 8:31 am on Dec 13, 2002 (gmt 0)

I would think the feed would contain a field for URL. When the buyers click on the URL it would display a page containing a single item with options for sex, color, and size. That's what I would do anyway...


 8:45 am on Dec 13, 2002 (gmt 0)

question: since msot big store place in top of results (well, they have some more credibility than unknown seller) - does that mean that big "corporations" won again and small/middleman will loose again?

also what i am seing is that some services and ads make it to top results since have mention of some big firms(those big firms charge for ADS). for example i was looking for some service and this came in top results "The *** Exchange Antiques & Collectibles Classified Ad" - this is basiclly AD page and at the bottom of page you see "Item Number: P-******* $0.04 " which is probalby how mcuh does this AD cost per dispaly or somethng on this BIG merchant site . At froogle this AD was in top results and the price was - $0.04 ... so i see a lot of PPC prices for ads there that are mistaken for products. although i think that from searchers point this froogle can be great - why have i feeling that this froogle will be spamed quite quikcly by new breed of "SE optimizers"? The company that i searched for has over 15 000 results from different sites there and all are just affilaites :)


 8:51 am on Dec 13, 2002 (gmt 0)

we rank by relevance order.

One thing I wanted to address is that it seems to me that if you do a search on a specific product that the actual manufacturers of said product (provided that they sell it online) would come up first in the serp.

Should the manufacturer do a datafeed?

Is this a refinement in the works?

Or is there a rationale for not including the actual manufacturer as the number one result?

[edited by: martinibuster at 9:27 am (utc) on Dec. 13, 2002]


 8:56 am on Dec 13, 2002 (gmt 0)

It's definitely an interesting new development.

So far, people seem to have mainly commented on what Froogle means now.

I'd like to digress a little and speculate on what Froogle means later...

Imagine that a year from now, Froogle has 10,000 merchants feeding it daily or weekly datafeed updates, each one formatted tidily in Froogle format so as to make display and sorting super-easy. Most of the bugs have been worked out (not all bugs - you'll never work out ALL bugs!) and searches are producing tidy, useful and up-to-date results in most cases.

Imagine also that by then, (G/Fr)oogle have proven what I believe they secretly believe already - that is, that ads next to shopping "content" are worth a lot more than ads next to search results. In other words, while Froogle uses the AdWords system right now for simplicity/volume/whatever, I can easily see the ad side of things splitting into "Google AdWords" and "Froogle AdWords". After all, if you're a merchant selling golf clubs (for instance) would you rather show up on searches for "golf clubs" on Google (a search engine) or Froogle (a shopping comparison engine, where you can expect the majority of users will be primed to buy something)?

Now, (G/Fr)oogle have a huge opportunity on their hands. You see, Google isn't just "Google.com" any more - they syndicate their search results through hundreds or thousands of partner sites. I believe the larger sites get a share of all AdWords revenue generated by Google-partnered searches performed on their sites...

So Google goes to their partners, and says:

Hey, you guys have been making an average of $X per 1,000 searches on our current Google search partner product - and we know you're happy with that - but we've got something that will make that look like pocket change.

All you need to do is add a second button next to the "Search" button marked "Find me the best deal on this Product" (or similar wording). And in return, when people click that button, we'll send them to Froogle and you'll get a cut of the turbo-charged, super-boosted Froogle Adwords revenue. In fact, we project you could be making $Y per 1,000 Froogle partner searches (where $Y >> $X)

And within days, most of the major partner sites have implemented what amounts to a "I want to shop now" Enter Button on their sites, which is filtering off the shoppers from the searcher/browsers.

That's one scenario.

Now, imagine in turn (and this is not necessarily mutually exclusive) that Google has been quietly storing and processing all the millions of Froogle searches that have been instigated over the first year of its existence. It records those searches that produce excellent matches on Froogle - after all, the current Froogle results are ranked by relevancy, so the Google team know if they have decent matching results or not.

So at this hypothetical future date, Google turns on the "Froogle filter". Now, searches that would score well for relevancy on Froogle (i.e. for which numerous matching products are returned) will be piped seamlessly through Froogle and the Froogle results will replace or merge with the Google results.

If you haven't given up reading yet, it could get a lot more clever very quickly. Google is busy testing out what is essentially a "recommendation engine" since it matches searches with what other sites have said about the results that are being returned from those searches.

Imagine that Google plugs a debugged Froogle into the fully fledged recommendation engine. Suddenly, you've got product listings for the Sony Vaio 505xe mixed with recommendations about the product (and about the stores that sell the product)

Now that we've seen a possible future, let's warp back to NOW...

The most interesting measure of Froogle's success in the days, weeks and months ahead will be to see (if such a metric can be deduced) how many merchants go to the effort (however large/small) of setting up and actively maintaining a Froogle feed. If a usefully large body of merchants (in the thousands or tens of thousands of companies) participate in "feeding Froogle" then Froogle has won the ecommerce battle before they even start.

Realise this: Froogle the search engine is just one of an infinite number of "faces" or "modes of presentation" that can be put on a staggeringly vast sea of identically formatted product data from tens of thousands of stores, large and small. Want to be in the consumer recommendation business? Plug in a few comment/rating tools, tweak the data display routines to display results by product, and bingo, you're there!

Google is essentially building itself a private reservoir of the most valuable commodity in the Web world: perfect information.

There is no way that Barnes and Noble would ever hand over their book database to Amazon, or vice versa. Or that Tiger Direct will dump their product listing into a file and send it to Circuit City.

However, all these competing merchants and many, many, many more will happily, gladly, gleefully (think of the added business) supply this information to (G/Fr)oogle, which will find itself as the world's sole one-stop supplier of what one might call "total product category knowledge" for any given product/service category you care to imagine.



 9:08 am on Dec 13, 2002 (gmt 0)

Oh, and one other thing - after my last post, what gall! :)

If (G/Fr)oogle can get a critical mass of datafeeds in place (to the extent that the vast majority of searches produce useful and relevant results drawn from the datafeeds) then I believe that at some future date they will drop the automatic crawled listings in favour of a pure datafeed-driven results set.

After all, if you have tens of millions of products all presented in an identical, easily manipulable data format, why would you want to clutter up this wonderful clean data with some automated spider/bot's best "guess" as to what constitutes a product/description/price combo?


 9:20 am on Dec 13, 2002 (gmt 0)

Beachboy >> folks can do a whole lot of adult video shopping on Froogle

Who needs a video when you can run the new Google slide show? ;)


 9:50 am on Dec 13, 2002 (gmt 0)

Edwin >> Google is essentially building itself a private reservoir of the most valuable commodity in the Web world: perfect information.

That's right, Edwin. There's a much more powerful and, as the Big Brother watchers would say, sinister undercurrent going on here, with Google collecting data on surfers' behavior via the toolbar and on searchers' behavior via not only routine serp clicks but also adword clicks. And unwitting advertisers are likely being profiled on every facet you can imagine.

We're in the infomation age. Information is the ultimate power and it's being fed into Google's data base though massive pipelines.

Google already controls the profit and loss of many a small company, as suggested by David Gallagher's recent New York Times article. But armed with the latest e-commerce database they'll be catching the big fish before long and be running a fat revenue stream from the coffers of corporate America right into Google's, mainline fashion.


 9:55 am on Dec 13, 2002 (gmt 0)

On that subject, imagine a merger a couple of years down the road between Google and Amazon - the latter bringing its tens of millions of user-submitted reviews and ratings, its consumer profiles and its Alexa tracking/stats to the table and Google bringing everything you outline and more...


 10:06 am on Dec 13, 2002 (gmt 0)

imagine a merger a couple of years down the road between Google and Amazon - the latter bringing its tens of millions of user-submitted reviews and ratings

More like the latter bringing hundreds of millions of dollars in debt. Forget about it. Amazon is a loser. Loses millions of dollars every year.

And as far as Alexa tracking's concerned, it's useless, unless the web surfing habits of Korea mean anything to you.

Alexa not only is spyware, but it's stats are meaningless.

[edited by: martinibuster at 10:09 am (utc) on Dec. 13, 2002]


 10:08 am on Dec 13, 2002 (gmt 0)

While the Old Economy crowd in Washington is sending out warplanes to keep the flow of oil feeding the coffers of Corporate America the New Economy geeks in Cyberspace are having a field day running pipelines through the side door into those corporate treasuries.

</end of soapbox>


 6:46 am on Dec 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

Although our site and business is UK based, we do have a section of our site completely catered to US buyers, with prices in US Dollars as well. Are we presently eligible to be included in Froogle?

Is there a FroogleGuy around to conclusively answer this question?


 9:58 am on Dec 12, 2002 (gmt 0)



"There are a few conditions and limitations you should know about if you're thinking of providing a feed to Froogle. This beta release of Froogle only supports U.S. online stores with English-language websites and products priced in U.S. dollars. While we plan to offer support for multiple languages and currencies in the future, we want to be sure Froogle offers the best possible experience to users and merchants before we expand the service. We will not be accepting feeds from international merchants until that time.

Froogle points users to sites where they can buy actual products from the merchants that sell them. Therefore, to be eligible to submit a feed, you must sell products via your website and ship them to the buyer. If you sell services or custom products that do not have fixed prices, use your website only to promote an offline business, or are an affiliate marketing site, your site content may be crawled by and included in Google's web search, but it will not be included in Froogle. Nor will Froogle accept a data feed under these conditions."

[edited by: heini at 11:39 am (utc) on Jan. 4, 2003]


 11:09 am on Dec 13, 2002 (gmt 0)

One thing this thread proves to me. The Web is still maturing as a medium.. things change fast. As web professionals we need to keep up with them and work within them. Thats what a mature professional is. Maybe the day of the 100% affiliate site with little contextualization is over as a revenue earner. But that's hardly google's fault, and it may well be good for the Web, and good valued-added affiliate sites. If not Google, someone else what have done it, and hasnt palces like MYsimon tried similar things on a smaller scale before? It just happens that google is best placed to do it first.

There is always some sentiment on WebmasterWorld that just because something worked for a while - like y! domain name affilate opps/spams, looksmart listings, and many others, then it is *unfair* when the rules change/the world/web moves on.

Its not unfair, it's just business... The best thing we can do is keep completely up to date and try to extrapolate to the future.

In my mind, this is a great way for google to start separating shop content, from other types of content - news content, image content, web page content etc. which were uneasy bedfellows in one giga index. Good Information management principles abound, though of course there seems to be a fair way to go to release, esp. in areas of pricing and geographical issues.


 10:59 am on Dec 13, 2002 (gmt 0)

Going by Google's impressive past, the success of Froogle is almost certain. But if a vast majority of surfers turn to Froogle by default to purchase any product online (they way they turn to Google for any internet search), this could establish a Google with ultimate control of too many lives. It's not impossible to imagine a future where an online retailer not listed on Froogle (for whatever reason) may find it impossible to survive, due to low or no traffic. At the end of the day, since it's the people's choice, no legal interference (such as that in the case of Microsoft) can break the monopoly of Google and Froogle anyway. Is it just me or do other webmasters feel in a similar way as well?

creative craig

 11:06 am on Dec 13, 2002 (gmt 0)

I do understand what you are saying and I do agree with you to some extent.. heres the but :)

Google sends me the most traffic, maybe with the new look Altavista that will change and they will become more of a player in the field.. it wouldnt hurt for the big G to have some more competition.

While Google sends the most traffic to me, I will continue to watch the monthly update.

Just my views :)



 11:11 am on Dec 13, 2002 (gmt 0)

I certainly agree with you - our sites rank well on Google and we too get a fair majority of our traffic from Google. But as you rightly said, we do need a genuine competitor, as putting all eggs in one basket (not by choice!) is a risky proposition.


 11:24 am on Dec 13, 2002 (gmt 0)

The only thing that worries me, is if Google drops pages of sites that sell stuff and seperates Google / Froogle content (can't be in both). Make one for information, and one for shopping.

I mean, they can't drop an entire domain name just because they sell stuff, because they may also offer valuable content and information on other pages.

But they could drop all the "buy this item" pages (or rank them lower in the algo), or assign some form of penalty on an entire site for google.com searches, based on the ratio of "buy this item" pages to content pages in the domain.


 11:25 am on Dec 13, 2002 (gmt 0)

what ATT was in telecom, what MSoft is IN software that google will be ON WEB...


 11:42 am on Dec 13, 2002 (gmt 0)

The world is full of examples of smart enthusiastic hard working entrepreneurs with good ideas toppling market leaders or even monopolies. e.g. microsoft windows vs. apple's OS, microsoft vs. IBM, Word vs. Wordperfect, google vs AV, CNN vs broadcast news. I'm really not too concerned about monopolies long term - maybe short term.


 1:21 pm on Dec 13, 2002 (gmt 0)

GoogleGuy, I found a glitch in many of our products that are already listed in Froogle.

All of our products follow the following format:

$39.99 (in strikethrough red type) followed by $19.99 StoreName's Low Price!

Some of our listings are showing the correct price (which is the second one) and some show the first. Any ideas on why you get it right on some products and not others?

Also, many of our informational pages (shipping policy, return policy, affiliate information etc..) are showing up with prices although they aren't selling any products on them. Just wanted to give you the heads up. Hope we can do our best to help you make your product even better.


 2:39 pm on Dec 13, 2002 (gmt 0)


I too have some funny listings. It seems that if we want a perfect Froogle listing we are going to have to participate in the data feed.

I can see into the future..... sending froogle a datafeed as a morning task.

Time to adjust my job description.


 2:48 pm on Dec 13, 2002 (gmt 0)

born2drive wrote:

The only thing that worries me, is if Google drops pages of sites that sell stuff and seperates Google / Froogle content (can't be in both). Make one for information, and one for shopping.

That could be good for Google. (See Edwin's scenario earlier in this thread that involved separate AdWords programs for Google and Froogle).

Let's say I've got a review site for digital cameras. When people want to buy a Canon G3 right now, they go to Froogle. When they're trying to decide whether the Canon G3 is the right camera for them, they go to Google and look for sites like my review site.

For the Ritz Camera or B&H Photo Video or Adorama that wants to sell Canon G3 cameras, it becomes imperative (or at least worthwhile) to buy AdWords on both Google and Froogle to reach both the "shopping today" and "just looking" audiences.

It also might make sense for Google to replace or supplement Google AdWords with targeted banner opportunities. Let's say that John Doe is a user who's searching Google for reviews, specs, sample images, etc. for the Canon G3 camera. John may not be ready to buy, but he may be well be in a buying mood by the time he finishes researching his possible camera purchase. So wouldn't it make sense for Ritz Camera, B&H Photo Video, or Adorama to create awareness with a targeted "Your Canon Camera Headquarters!" or "Guaranteed lowest prices on Canon digital cameras!" banner on a Google page of Canon search results? Such a banner might keep John from clicking another vendor's affiliate link on the review site or from going to Froogle to research the actual purchase.

[edited by: europeforvisitors at 4:29 pm (utc) on Dec. 13, 2002]


 2:50 pm on Dec 13, 2002 (gmt 0)

Rugles wrote:
Time to adjust my job description.

I say it may be time to hire another intern. ;]

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