|Operating system||Any (web based application)|
Google Shopping, formerly Google Product Search, Google Products and Froogle, is a Google service invented by Craig Nevill-Manning which allows users to search for products on online shopping websites and compare prices between different vendors.
Originally, the service listed prices submitted by merchants, and was monetized through AdWords advertising like other Google services. However, in May 2012, Google announced that the service (which was also immediately renamed Google Shopping) would shift in late-2012 to a paid model where merchants would have to pay the company in order to list their products on the service.
Created by Craig Nevill-Manning and launched in December 2002, Froogle was different from most other price comparison services in that it used Google's web crawler to index product data from the websites of vendors instead of using paid submissions. As with Google Search, Froogle was instead monetized using Google's AdWords keyword advertising platform.
Change to paid listings
Alongside the announcement of an immediate re-brand to Google Shopping on May 31, 2012, Google also announced that in late 2012, it would change the service to use a "pay-to-play" model, where merchants would have to pay Google to list their products on the service, with results influenced by both relevance and the bid amounts they pay. Google justified the move by stating that it would allow the service to "deliver the best answers for people searching for products and help connect merchants with the right customers."
The change proved controversial; some small businesses showed concern that they would not be able to compete with larger companies that can afford a larger advertising budget. Microsoft's Bing also attacked the move in an advertising campaign known as "Scroogled", which called Google out for using "deceptive advertising practices" and suggesting that users use its competing Bing Shopping service instead.
Google Shopping was originally known as Froogle, a pun on the term "frugal". On April 18, 2007, the product was renamed Google Product Search; the name was dropped due to concerns surrounding internationalization, people not understanding the pun or understanding what the service was actually about, and concerns related to the company's trademark infringement lawsuit against competing website Froogles. On May 31, 2012, the product was renamed to Google Shopping. The URL "froogle.com" still redirects to Google Shopping.
- United States
- Czech Republic
In late May 2012, Google announced that they will no longer be maintaining a strict separation between search results and advertising. Google Shopping will be replaced with a nearly identical interface, according to the announcement, but only paid advertisers will be listed instead of the neutral aggregate listings shown previously. Furthermore, rankings will be determined primarily by which advertisers place the highest "bid," though the announcement does not elaborate on this process. The transition will be complete in the fall of 2012.
As a result of this change to Google Shopping, Microsoft, who operates the competing search engine Bing, launched a public information campaign titled Scroogled. The ad campaign was developed by leading political campaign strategist Mark Penn.
It is unclear how consumers will react to this move. Critics charge that Google has effectively abandoned its "Don't be evil" motto and that small businesses will be unable to compete against their larger counterparts. There is also concern that consumers who didn't see this announcement will be unaware that they're now looking at paid advertisements and that the top results are no longer determined solely based on relevance but instead will be manipulated according to which company paid the most.
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