Planet13 - 9:28 pm on Oct 30, 2011 (gmt 0)
For what it's worth, I think that google is going to try more and more to take on amazon and ebay. I think that the stricter requirements for listing products in froogle / google merchant / whatever it is called now are really geared toward making it easier for visitors to compare prices / ratings / locations.
I think that the days when one can list products for free in google products is almost over. I think that once they gain enough market share, they will force merchants to do SOMETHING that will allow google to monetize google products (it might be requiring that the merchant accept google pay or have to pay some nominal fee).
(Maybe they will just monetize it with increased adwords pressence without charging merchants anything extra.)
I think that the biggest loser in all of this will be web hosting companies / shopping cart companies, because I believe that google is trying to make it so that companies don't even need to have a shopping cart - just a datafeed from a spreadsheet that they can upload.
I think that google will target merchants who may have balked at the costs of setting up and maintaining a shopping cart (there are still TONS of small shops that don't have a viable shopping cart), and after that, push for more established merchants.
Unless one can compete on price, I think branding (as a way to distinguish one's business) is going to be even more important in the near future.
Just my two centavos...