Google has a booth at Internet Retailer. It’s a small one, the 10×10. And as opposed to the normal plethora of products, Google is only displaying three…and not the ones you’d expect. Nowhere to be seen is Google Product Search, Google Merchant Center, Google AdWords, and Google Places. Instead, it’s Google Affiliate Network, Google Commerce Search, and Google TV Ads.
Not sure how or why these three products were chosen, but it seems to have been a last minute decision as the booth is at the end of a row.
We’ll let you know what she has to say.
In November of 2009, Google started testing a new ad format called Google Product Lising Ads. I will refer to the ad format as Product Listing Ads or just Product Listings. While Product Listings was announced on the Google AdWords blog and is called a new feature of Adwords in this Google Ad Innovations video, it’s easier to consider this a Google Affiliate Network product as the merchant pays on a Cost Per Acquisition/Action (CPA) basis.
Regardless of which unit within Google owns this product at this point, here are the important details:
Whenever analysts ask me about Google’s commerce ambitions, I tell them to watch Epic 2014 or 2015. Not all of Epic’s predictions have panned out and many aren’t applicable to ecommerce, but it’s a thought provoking starting point for this blog.
Go ahead, click on the pic below. You might have seen the video before, but it’s an important 8min reminder of Google’s potential in many areas.
Epic 2015′s focus isn’t commerce, but 4:36 into the video, Robin Sloan and Matt Thompson imagine the creation of Googlezon:
Google and Amazon join forces forming Googlezon. Google supplies the Google Grid and unparralleled search technology. Amazon supplies the social recommendation engine and its huge commercial infrastructure. Together they use their detailed knowledge of every user’s social network, demographics, buying habits, and reading interests to provide total customization of content and advertising.
What Robin and Matt didn’t imagine is that Google itself would create its own commercial infrastructure, Googe Checkout. In June of 2006, Google Checkout launched in the US. This provides Google with all it needs to provide an end to end commerce experience imagined in Epic 2015. Google has the search technology, social recommendation engine (think Google Product Reviews program), commercial infrastructure (think Google App Engine and Google Checkout), and detailed knowledge of every user’s social network (think Facebook Connect), demographics (think Google Analytics), and buying habits (think Google Checkout).
The key is tying all of these pieces together to provide “total customization of content and advertising.” You can see Google starting to do this with Google Merchant Center and the Google Merchant Center data feed. While not the lynchpin of Google’s commerce efforts, the Google Merchant Center data feed is damn close.
The Google Merchant Center data feed powers Google Shopping (aka Google Product Search), Extension Ads (a Google AdWords product), Google Product Ads (a Google Affiliate Network product), Google Commerce Search, Google Mobile Shopping (Blue dots!), and it’s easy to make the leap to believe that the Google Merchant Center data feed will also power Google Places, Google’s updated version of Local Business Center (it is now powered by a separate Business Feed). I joked early on that SingleFeed’s tag line should be ‘One Feed to Rule them All’ and it seems it would be an equally appropriate tag line for Google Merchant Center. With GMC’s (yes, it’s time for an acronym) hooks into other Google produts, you can start to picture of all the ways Google could power or enable commerce for merchants.
Don’t worry, I’ll explain all of these pieces in more detail and give plenty of examples. That is in fact the point of this blog!