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Google Shopping

20 March 2017

PriceSpy and other Kiwi price-comparison websites have been doing a roaring trade by creating lists of places where you can buy stuff.

A few clicks of the mouse and you can find who sells the widget you're after at the lowest price or who has the best customer feedback. It's a great way to simplify the task of getting the best deal.

Of course where there's the demand for a service, others will flood in to meet that demand and try to oust the market leaders.

Enter Google!

Yes, Google is, at least according to this report, getting into the online shopping arena with the goal of showing users where they can get the best value for their dollars.

Those with long memories will recall that Google used to offer a service which it called "Froogle". I used this service on several occasions (back in the day) and was underwhelmed with the results.

But now it's back and called "Google Shopping".

You can get to Google Shopping using several URLs but the easiest one to remember is probably google.co.nz/shopping although shopping.google.com also works via a redirect.

Interestingly enough, clicking on any of the array of images presented on the main shopping page produces no results -- at least on my Linux machine running Firefox. In fact, what the hell is that page for anyway -- given that Google Shopping is now simply an intrinsic part of Google Search?

Doing a Google search does throw up some suggestions in the top-right of the screen.

Sadly however, the array of choices are abysmal!

I opted to search for a GoPro Hero4 Session and got just one option in the "Shop on Google" option.

By comparison, PriceSpy threw up three options, two of which were cheaper than the one that google proffered.

So will Froogle Google Shopping be a hit here in NZ?

Well I won't hold my breath.

I'm sure that some retailers will flock to sign up in order to get a prime spot in the "Shop on Google" box which appears in searches -- but they're going to have to give Google a commission on those sales so their prices will never be as keen as other retailers who simply rely on services like PriceSpy and its peers.

Besides which, we now live in a global economy. Who the hell is going to pay $350 to buy a GoPro Session 4 here in NZ when you can pick them up for just over half that price on eBay?

Or, if you're looking for a small, cheap, lightweight Session-formfactor camera there are now a growing number of options available directly from China for as little as NZ$150.

Google Shopping?

Much ado about nothing I figure.

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