Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Nov. 23 made a number of alterations to its Google Product Search price comparison service to prepare for the Black Friday holiday shopping spree kick-off.
A new "best match" feature highlights products Google "thinks" a consumer is shopping for. So when a user searches for a specific camera, it will be highlighted at the top of the page, as shown here.
Product search has also gotten more granular on Google. When a user searched for a product such as a computer via Product Search in the past, he or she would have options to filter by price and whether or not the product was in stock nearby.
Going forward, Google will offer users the option to refine their search by brand, such as Asus, Acer or HP; operating system, including Windows 7, Windows XP, Mac OS and Google's own Chrome OS platform; or even processor type-Intel, ARM, etc.. Google will also provide what its algorithm estimates to be the most popular products first.
When users click on a link to a product they're interested in, they'll be whisked away to a product page that lists product specifications, reviews, prices and local availability. A new product info bar at the top of the page houses basic information about a product.
Also-and this is a big deal for people shopping for consumer electronics that have lifecycles-Google will now also display the date that the product first appeared on Google Product Search. That will help users determine if they're looking at a newfangled product or something that's been kicking around for a year or more.
In addition, Google made progress in integrating its Boutiques.com apparel search stock and features into Product Search, which now includes shoes, displays larger product images, and lets users slice their search by brand, color, style and other criteria.
Google Product Search is one of the products that came under fire by Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, during the Senate subcommittee's inquiry into Google's search practices.
Lee accused Google of cooking the search results to make Product Search and other services appear ahead of results from Yelp, CityAdvisor, and other review Websites and comparison engines on Google.com.
"You've cooked it so that you're always third," Lee said during the hearing Sept. 21. Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt coolly responded: "Senator, may I simply say that I can assure you we've not cooked anything."