It took a while, but Google has made its big move as a local shopping inventory gatekeeper. The company said Thursday that it will offer mobile device users inventory checks on local stores, allowing them to see if products are available.
The program has already enlisted some key retailers including Sears, Best buy, Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn, and West Elm. Rest assured that local merchants, which increasingly rely on Google to send business their way, will follow suit.
If you see a blue dot, you can tap on the adjacent "In stock nearby" link, and you'll be taken to the seller's page where you'll see whether the item is "In Stock" or has "Limited Availability" near you. You'll also see how far away the stores are from you -- as long as you've enabled My Location or manually specified your location.