|Registration||Optional, included with a Google Account|
|Launched||August 16, 2011|
Google Catalogs was a shopping application for tablet computers, which was produced by Google in August 2011. The application is currently only available for the iPad and Android tablets. Google Catalogs delivers virtual catalogs to users from merchants like Nordstrom, L.L. Bean, Macy's, Pottery Barn, and many more. Merchants are still being added, through a process by which they submit a form with information and a sample of their catalog, which will then be reviewed by Google’s editorial team. This new application is noted as a "Greener Way to Shop", as this digitization of catalogs is substituting for paper versions. Google announced to discontinue the iPad app effective August 2013.
Google Catalog search was first conceptualized in December, 2001 as a search function on the web only. This was a free Google service. Catalog search was a major digitization project for Google, as thousands of merchant catalogs were scanned and made accessible to the public. Users were able to flip through pages of catalogs from a variety of industries, except those that focus on liquor, tobacco, firearms, or similar products. Google ended this service on the web in January, 2009 stating: "Catalog Search hasn’t been as popular as some of our other products. So tomorrow, we’re bidding it a fond farewell and focusing our efforts to bring more and more types of offline information such as magazines, newspapers and of course, books, online". On August 16, 2011 Google Catalogs was announced on Google's official blog, and was immediately available for download. Google created a quick video as an overview of the features of the product. On October 1, 2012, Google made Google Catalogs available on the web. Google plans on integrating it with Google Shopping.
User experience (UX)
The catalogs available on this application are grouped by several product categories, including Women’s Fashion and Apparel, Jewelry, Beauty, Home, Men’s Fashion and Apparel, Kids and Baby, and Gifts. After choosing a product category, users can select a specific catalog, which then brings them to the cover page of that catalog. The placement and sequence of catalogs within each section is likely to impact the click-through rate for any particular catalog.
Shoppers using the iPad can flip through the catalog and tap on 'hotspots' for the products they are interested in, which are linked to the merchant's website for purchase. After clicking on a product of interest, a pop-up will appear for the user to read more about the product itself which includes price, description, images, and title. This is also the page where users can send information about the product to others via email. For those who don’t want to purchase online, store locations can be found by loading the 'Find Nearby' option. Further exploration of the products is supported by features such as the ability to zoom in on products as well as being able to view tags to garner additional information. In addition, products can be marked as favorites, and then all of those that were previously marked can be viewed on the same page by clicking the Favorites button on the bottom of the screen. Users can also mark specific catalogs as Favorites in order to receive a notification when a new issue is available. If a user is looking for a specific product, there is a search function that will show all the products related to the keyword that the user types in.
Google Catalogs has the potential to become a completely interactive online shopping community. In the early stages of this Google product, users have the ability to send product information and images they find on the application to any person with an email address, regardless of whether or not they have the app. Users are also able to create collages of their favorite products across catalogs on their Android powered tablets or iPads. Once users have either created a collage they can share these with friends, in the same way they can share product information and images that they find interesting. In addition to this, users can create public collages that can be viewed by anyone with the application. It is expected that Google Catalogs will include more social networking abilities in this application in the near future. Most notably Google+ will be an integrated feature to allow users to post about their favorite products.
Google Catalogs is now accessible on both the iPad and computer.
Participating merchants currently do not have to pay a fee in order to have their catalogs included in this app. Additionally, users of Google Catalogs do not have to pay to search through the collection of catalogs that are provided in the app. Users do, however, have to have a Gmail account in order to sign-in and save their favorite catalogs. In order to add a catalog to the app, retailers are directed to the form on Google's info page about Google Catalogs.
Women's Fashion & Apparel
Athleta, Bloomingdale's, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Boden USA, Gaiam, Dillard's, L.L. Bean, Lafayette 148 New York, Lands' End, Macy's, Merrell, Moosejaw, Roxy, Sundance, Venus, bebe, Alloy, Anthropologie, Bare Necessities, Bergdorf Goodman, Delia's, Eddie Bauer, Fossil, Free People, Gap, Lucky Brand, Saks Fifth Avenue, Tory Burch, Swell, Trina Turk, UGG, Urban Outfitters, Patagonia, Ralph Lauren, Gump's, Peruvian Connection
Men's Fashion & Apparel
Paul Fredrick, Boden, Patagonia, Brooks Brothers, L.L. Bean, Merrell, Lands' End, Moosejaw, Nordstrom, Orvis, Sierra Trading Post, Bergdorf Goodman, Bloomingdale's, Eddie Bauer, Fossil, L.L. Bean Signature, Lands' End Canvas, Lucky Brand, Macy's, Patagonia, Ralph Lauren Rugby, Swell, Urban Outfitters
High Fashion Home, Horchow, Pottery Barn, Serena & Lily, Williams-Sonoma, Ballard Designs, Crate & Barrel, Design Within Reach, Gaiam, Macy's, Neiman Marcus, Pottery Barn Bed & Bath, CB2, Dwell Studio, PBteen, West Elm, Anthropologie, Pottery Barn Outdoor Spaces
Kids & Baby
CWDkids, Right Start, Serena & Lily, Hanna Anderson, L.L.Bean Kids, One Step Ahead, Tea Collection, Brooks Brothers, DwellStudio, Land's End, Pottery Barn Kids, The Land of Nod, L.L.Bean Outdoor Gear
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