Google’s trying to become a one-stop shopping destination

Google wants its search engine to become the place where you do your online shopping. To do that, the company announced today that it’s introducing a set of new shopping-specific features meant to help you narrow down your results and — more importantly — keep you on Google.

For starters, Google’s folding shopping features directly into its main search bar, no longer requiring you to hit the “Shopping” tab whenever you’re searching for something you want to buy. Starting your searches with the word “shop” followed by a product name will automatically yield a set of visual results and research tools as well as availability in stores nearby. This feature’s coming to mobile first and will arrive on desktop and in more categories “soon.”

Google shopping search filters

Google will start saving the shopping search filters you use.
Image: Google

The search giant’s also adding a way to save your shopping search filters. Right now, if you tick off any of the search filters (for size, color, brand, etc.) in Google’s shopping tab, these preferences disappear as soon as you leave the page. Later this year, users in the US will be able to select search filters once, and from then on, Google will show you results that apply to those preferences. In case you change your mind, Google says you can turn off or change your filters at any time.

An animated GIF showing Google’s product suggestion tool for clothes

Google will soon show you suggestions for “complementary” clothing.
Image: Google

If you often find yourself searching for outfit inspiration on Pinterest or Instagram, Google’s introducing ways to discover new styles and even create outfits without having to use an external site. When you search for a certain article of clothing, like a bomber jacket, Google says it will show you the results for the jacket along with “complementary pieces” and where to buy them. This feature is coming out later this fall along with the ability to view lists of trending products. Oh, and just like eBay, Google will soon start displaying 360-degree views of sneakers, an expansion of the 3D images of home goods it added to search earlier this year.

Lastly, if you’ve searched for a product recently, you might have spotted Google’s new buying guides feature for users in the US. These guides are aggregated from “trusted sources” and display more information in drop-down menus about the product depending on what you’re searching for. Google uses the example of a mountain bike, noting that a buying guide might include its size, suspension, weight, and materials, eliminating the need to search elsewhere. Another feature, called Page Insights, provides the pros and cons of a product and star ratings. When this tool launches later this year, you can also use it to opt in to price drop notifications.

An animated GIF showing buying guides for bikes on Google Search

Google’s buying guides provide details about an item’s specifications.
Image: Google

All of these features build upon Google’s existing shopping tools, such as Lens integration and in-store inventory checks, pushing Google search closer to becoming a one-stop shopping hub that currently pulls products from 35 billion listings on the web. This puts Google in a better position to compete with Amazon, which rakes in over 42 million unique desktop visitors and over 126 million unique mobile visitors in the US each month. Meanwhile, Google says people are shopping on the search engine “more than a billion times a day,” but that doesn’t factor in how many of those searches lead users off of Google and onto the sites of other online stores.

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