Google June 17 upgraded its Commerce Search product in the United States and United Kingdom with several new features that let users slice and dice their search results on retail sites.
Launched last November, Google Commerce Search is the company's enterprise search offering to let online retailers power their online stores with Google's search technology.
Google hosts all of the data on its own servers in the cloud to assuage customers' concerns about handling holiday traffic spikes.
This is a departure from traditional enterprise search providers such as Endeca, Vivisimo, and Microsoft's Fast unit, which offer search software retailers install on their own servers.
Commerce Search 2.0 includes a full merchandising dashboard. This palette offers merchants more control over promotions, ranking rules and filtering, said Nitin Mangtani, senior product manager for Google Commerce Search.
Moreover, new time-based promotions let retailers set timelines for deals and savings, while new facet controls in the left-hand panel and product ranking rules help retailers improve the online shopping experience for their customers.
Many online shoppers tend to go to the search bar on retail sites when they're shopping. Mangtani said others prefer to navigate through different categories to discover new products, the online equivalent of window shopping.
Google Commerce Search 2.0 makes it easier for consumers to shop by browsing around a retail Website. In tests on the Google Commerce Search-powered Smart Furniture Website, query results came back in less than one second, with or without refinements.
Commerce Search 2.0 also sports auto-completion for queries to help shoppers find the products they're looking for faster.
Some might think that Google would provide suggested queries out of the gate for Commerce Search. This was not the case for the first go-round.
Mangtani explained that providing auto-completion for each individual retailer based on their product inventory is quite a challenge.
Existing Commerce Search customers, such as Birkenstock USA, Smart Furniture, and Chemist Direct can simply click boxes to opt in to the new features, which are offered at no additional charge.
Mangtani declined to discuss the specific number of customers Commerce Search has. However, the product helped boost Google's enterprise search customer base to 30,000 business customers of various vertical markets and sizes.
The search engine also added a new price point for Commerce Search. The original entry level price was $50,000 per year for an indexing of 100,000 items and up to 10 million queries.
Google has cut that virtually in half to appeal to smaller businesses, or businesses with smaller needs. Businesses may now license Commerce Search for $25,000 per year, which is good for 50,000 products and 3 million queries. Customers will pay more as they scale.