Search Til You Drop: Google Launches Hosted Commerce Search For Retailers

Comment

Searching retail sites can be frustrating at times. While many retailers try to present product search in a visually appealing way, search can often be slow or difficult to refine. Tonight, Google is making a huge play in retail space with the launch of Commerce Search, a hosted enterprise search product to power online retail stores and e-commerce websites.

Google offers a general hosted search product that is used by organizations that want to add customized Google search functionality to their websites. Google is now entering the vertical space, by the first tailor-made enterprise product, with retail optimized space. There are four key components to thew new search offering for retailers:

Speed: Google promises “ultra-fast speed and accuracy” by leveraging Google’s search technology to provide sub-second response time to customer searches on retail sites. Commerce Search also uses a proprietary ranking technology to analyze the products in each data feed and serve the most relevant match. Google says that faster search speed will help increase conversions to buy products, as customers can quickly find specific products without having to navigate complex search interfaces.

E-commerce-Specific Search: Google Commerce offers a variety of features that are optimized for retail and product search, such as parametric search, sorting of results, spell checker, stemming, and synonym suggestion, which in some way or another let users to refine and target their searches. I’m told hosted search uses several proprietary signals to determine the ranking of search result. Commerce also offers a compelling product promotions features, that lets retailers fine-tune search results to push promoted products to the top of results. The search interface allows for retailers to specifically label products as promoted.

One of my bones to pick with Google Commerce was that it’s interface may be to simple for retail sites like Saks, Bloomingdales or others who tend to display products in a more visually appealing way. Presentation, whether it be real-store or online, matters. But Nitin Mangtani, Lead Product Manager for Google Enterprise Search, told me that the Google Commerce Search API allows retailers to fully customize the search experience on their website and add all the bells and whistles they need to make the interface match the rest of their site. And, retailers using Commerce don’t need to show the Google logo on the search site.

Scalability: Because Commerce Search is hosted by Google and based in the cloud, Google says it’s easily scalable to absorb additional traction on the site. For example, says Mangtani, during the holiday season, retailers will most probably experience high traffic on search. Google will ensure that retailers can manage the boost in traffic and scale the search application. And Mangtani adds that once all product data is incorporated, search can be deployed on any e-commerce site fairly quickly.

Leveraging Other Google Products: Google promises integration with other Google products like Google Analytics and Google Product Search. Using Commerce, retailers can measure clicks, conversion rates, number of transactions, average order value and other data via Google Analytics. And e-commerce vendors can provide a single feed of products and catelogue items that will power Commerce and indexing of their products on Google Product Search. Product Search (formerly Froogle) was blends shopping results with Google search.

Google didn’t release too many details on its pricing mode for Commerce Search, but a spokeswoman told me that the product will start at $50,000 per year. Beyond that, pricing will be based on the number of products (SKUs) in the customer’s database and the number of search queries entered on their site each year. This pricing isn’t cheap so obviously this appeals to bigger retailers and e-commerce shops. Google has already partnered with Birkenstock USA to power search, which looks mediocre. It was a little simple for my taste and it lacked a visible search bar but I’m really interested to see what can be done with Commerce for more embellished e-commerce sites. Google Commerce will now compete with the likes of Omniture, Endeca, and others.

Google is playing into “conversion rates” when advertising the product for retailers, saying that while the average online retailer conversion rate is just three percent, it could be five to ten times higher with a powerful search technology. With Commerce, Google is making an aggressive move in the retail space. Google Product hasn’t really taken off, but Commerce could and could effect the use of Google Product as well (and maybe Google Checkout?). Google’s other enterprise search offerings have steadily gaining users, so it should be interesting to see if the search giant can make inroads with big-name retailers.

More TechCrunch

Expedia says Rathi Murthy and Sreenivas Rachamadugu, respectively its CTO and senior vice president of core services product & engineering, are no longer employed at the travel booking company. In…

Expedia says two execs dismissed after ‘violation of company policy’

When Jeffrey Wang posted to X asking if anyone wanted to go in on an order of fancy-but-affordable office nap pods, he didn’t expect the post to go viral.

With AI startups booming, nap pods and Silicon Valley hustle culture are back

OpenAI’s Superalignment team, responsible for developing ways to govern and steer “superintelligent” AI systems, was promised 20% of the company’s compute resources, according to a person from that team. But…

OpenAI created a team to control ‘superintelligent’ AI — then let it wither, source says

A new crop of early-stage startups — along with some recent VC investments — illustrates a niche emerging in the autonomous vehicle technology sector. Unlike the companies bringing robotaxis to…

VCs and the military are fueling self-driving startups that don’t need roads

When the founders of Sagetap, Sahil Khanna and Kevin Hughes, started working at early-stage enterprise software startups, they were surprised to find that the companies they worked at were trying…

Deal Dive: Sagetap looks to bring enterprise software sales into the 21st century

Keeping up with an industry as fast-moving as AI is a tall order. So until an AI can do it for you, here’s a handy roundup of recent stories in the world…

This Week in AI: OpenAI moves away from safety

After Apple loosened its App Store guidelines to permit game emulators, the retro game emulator Delta — an app 10 years in the making — hit the top of the…

Adobe comes after indie game emulator Delta for copying its logo

Meta is once again taking on its competitors by developing a feature that borrows concepts from others — in this case, BeReal and Snapchat. The company is developing a feature…

Meta’s latest experiment borrows from BeReal’s and Snapchat’s core ideas

Welcome to Startups Weekly! We’ve been drowning in AI news this week, with Google’s I/O setting the pace. And Elon Musk rages against the machine.

Startups Weekly: It’s the dawning of the age of AI — plus,  Musk is raging against the machine

IndieBio’s Bay Area incubator is about to debut its 15th cohort of biotech startups. We took special note of a few, which were making some major, bordering on ludicrous, claims…

IndieBio’s SF incubator lineup is making some wild biotech promises

YouTube TV has announced that its multiview feature for watching four streams at once is now available on Android phones and tablets. The Android launch comes two months after YouTube…

YouTube TV’s ‘multiview’ feature is now available on Android phones and tablets

Featured Article

Two Santa Cruz students uncover security bug that could let millions do their laundry for free

CSC ServiceWorks provides laundry machines to thousands of residential homes and universities, but the company ignored requests to fix a security bug.

1 day ago
Two Santa Cruz students uncover security bug that could let millions do their laundry for free

TechCrunch Disrupt 2024 is just around the corner, and the buzz is palpable. But what if we told you there’s a chance for you to not just attend, but also…

Harness the TechCrunch Effect: Host a Side Event at Disrupt 2024

Decks are all about telling a compelling story and Goodcarbon does a good job on that front. But there’s important information missing too.

Pitch Deck Teardown: Goodcarbon’s $5.5M seed deck

Slack is making it difficult for its customers if they want the company to stop using its data for model training.

Slack under attack over sneaky AI training policy

A Texas-based company that provides health insurance and benefit plans disclosed a data breach affecting almost 2.5 million people, some of whom had their Social Security number stolen. WebTPA said…

Healthcare company WebTPA discloses breach affecting 2.5 million people

Featured Article

Microsoft dodges UK antitrust scrutiny over its Mistral AI stake

Microsoft won’t be facing antitrust scrutiny in the U.K. over its recent investment into French AI startup Mistral AI.

1 day ago
Microsoft dodges UK antitrust scrutiny over its Mistral AI stake

Ember has partnered with HSBC in the U.K. so that the bank’s business customers can access Ember’s services from their online accounts.

Embedded finance is still trendy as accounting automation startup Ember partners with HSBC UK

Kudos uses AI to figure out consumer spending habits so it can then provide more personalized financial advice, like maximizing rewards and utilizing credit effectively.

Kudos lands $10M for an AI smart wallet that picks the best credit card for purchases

The EU’s warning comes after Microsoft failed to respond to a legally binding request for information that focused on its generative AI tools.

EU warns Microsoft it could be fined billions over missing GenAI risk info

The prospects for troubled banking-as-a-service startup Synapse have gone from bad to worse this week after a United States Trustee filed an emergency motion on Wednesday.  The trustee is asking…

A US Trustee wants troubled fintech Synapse to be liquidated via Chapter 7 bankruptcy, cites ‘gross mismanagement’

U.K.-based Seraphim Space is spinning up its 13th accelerator program, with nine participating companies working on a range of tech from propulsion to in-space manufacturing and space situational awareness. The…

Seraphim’s latest space accelerator welcomes nine companies

OpenAI has reached a deal with Reddit to use the social news site’s data for training AI models. In a blog post on OpenAI’s press relations site, the company said…

OpenAI inks deal to train AI on Reddit data

X users will now be able to discover posts from new Communities that are trending directly from an Explore tab within the section.

X pushes more users to Communities

For Mark Zuckerberg’s 40th birthday, his wife got him a photoshoot. Zuckerberg gives the camera a sly smile as he sits amid a carefully crafted re-creation of his childhood bedroom.…

Mark Zuckerberg’s makeover: Midlife crisis or carefully crafted rebrand?

Strava announced a slew of features, including AI to weed out leaderboard cheats, a new ‘family’ subscription plan, dark mode and more.

Strava taps AI to weed out leaderboard cheats, unveils ‘family’ plan, dark mode and more

We all fall down sometimes. Astronauts are no exception. You need to be in peak physical condition for space travel, but bulky space suits and lower gravity levels can be…

Astronauts fall over. Robotic limbs can help them back up.

Microsoft will launch its custom Cobalt 100 chips to customers as a public preview at its Build conference next week, TechCrunch has learned. In an analyst briefing ahead of Build,…

Microsoft’s custom Cobalt chips will come to Azure next week

What a wild week for transportation news! It was a smorgasbord of news that seemed to touch every sector and theme in transportation.

Tesla keeps cutting jobs and the feds probe Waymo

Sony Music Group has sent letters to more than 700 tech companies and music streaming services to warn them not to use its music to train AI without explicit permission.…

Sony Music warns tech companies over ‘unauthorized’ use of its content to train AI