Tips and Hints

Google’s European Virtual Supermarket

Some interesting goings on over at Google, according to our friends at ReveNews. I also found some info on MSN.

Apparently Google plans to leverage GoogleBase into a huge retail megalopolis where retailers type in their offerings and users can search them and find the best deals. You know, sort of like -uh- Google. No, wait a minute…sort of like

Nikesh Arora, head of Google’s European arm, said in an interview with the FT that Google wanted companies in retail – and possibly sectors such as real estate – to submit details of their goods and prices.

Google would index and package the information into a consumer-friendly search engine, giving its users a virtual supermarket across a number of retail brands.

Mr Arora said: “Google Base is going to have a huge impact on retailers,” adding that the move reflected internal research, which found many leading European retailers did not feel they were competitive enough online.

Google Base is an interesting concept. John Batelle calls it a Vertical Listings Engine, which is a great description.

Search Engine Watch also offers part of a Google staff email that explains how Google Base works:

This is an early-stage test of a product that enables content owners to easily send their content to Google. Like our web crawl and the recently released Google Sitemaps program, we are working to provide content owners an easy way to give us access to their content. We’re continually exploring new opportunities to expand our offerings, but we don’t have anything to announce at this time.

Very interesting. On the one hand I think that allowing us to direct Google to our content is a terrific idea. I love Google Sitemaps, and I’ve noticed that when I submit a new Sitemap my site gets reindexed in an hour or so.

On the other hand I just don’t see the usefulness of a CraigsList with tags. The other thing that concerns me (and others) is the effect on affiliate marketers should this be a big success.

AdSense took the ad revenues off the search engine page and placed them on the publisher’s page. Affiliate programs were the next logical step. The success of Google Base seems to hinge on moving those revenues back to the search engine.

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