Google Inc agreed to pay to license retailer ratings from online rating service STELLAService as the world's largest Internet search company steps up competition with e-commerce giant Amazon.com Inc.
STELLAService researches customer service quality at online retailers, measuring things like response times and the speed of product returns.
Under the multi-year agreement with Google, STELLAService ratings will appear in online shopping search results and ads alongside retailers that carry the product consumers are trying to track down, said Jordy Leiser, chief executive of STELLAService.Google Use Independent Online Retailer Ratings Service [reuters.com]
Sounds like it may be another way to try to strong arm people into signing up as a Google Trusted Store..
The "have our badge" on your store wasn't working so well..so it'll now be "have a 3rd party badge, that some people believe, on your store..and next to your SERP entry and ads"..
With the implicit " don't sign up with us, and you will be the websites who don't get a badge in SERPs or next to your ads..and customers will wonder why you don't have one".."and your click through rate and thus bottom line will suffer"..
Or maybe that isn't what they are hoping to do with it..we'll see..