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Google recently changed Google Shopping to a paid model, which could help or hinder its position in the shopping race

Google and Amazon are competing in a quiet, but bloody battle in the realm of Internet shopping -- and it looks like Amazon is winning.

When shoppers jump online, they generally do one of two things: search for the items they're looking for via Google, or go straight to Amazon for direct shopping results. The difference between the two? Google is a search engine with growing shopping capabilities via Google Shopping (which allows users to compare products and prices). Amazon, on the other hand, is an established e-tailer with an enormous store and competitive prices.

So which do you choose? Both are massive Web giants with much to offer, but in the realm of shopping, Amazon is just more popular. Last year, nearly one-third of shoppers jumped to Amazon to search for their purchases while only 13 percent used search engines like Google. Over the last year, product searches on Amazon have increased by 73 percent. Google Shopping, on the other hand, stayed "flat."

Google is hoping to change this around, though. Recently, Google started charging e-commerce companies to have their products appear in Google Shopping. This used to be free for these companies.

Google said that charging those who want to be included in Google Shopping results will help improve the search. Why? Mainly because e-commerce companies are more likely to keep current and accurate listeings of their products if they have to pay for it. Google Shopping is notorious for having out-of-date or incorrectly matched product listings.

But receiving higher quality data comes at a price for Google, as well. Some e-commerce companies don't want to pay for Google Shopping results (despite Google being the most popular search engine). Amazon is one of those that has removed its listings from Google Shopping. Others who've said they'd include products on Google Shopping are considering posting fewer listings to save money.

Google is moving forward with the idea, though, in order to get more money from online retailers and to improve the quality of its search results in Google Shopping.

Google started the paid listings this summer and will finish it this fall. When users search Google, some non-paid results will still show from across the Internet. However, a box with paid images and prices will show too. If a user jumps to Google Shopping specifically to search a product, only paid listings will show.

It remains to be seen whether e-commerce companies will go along with Google's new paid model in order to stay visible to shoppers, or look for other advertising opportunities. Google, which didn't say how much it's charging companies, said there has been "significant participation."

Google and Amazon are also competing in the tablet sector (even though Amazon uses an altered version of Google's Android operating system for its tablets). Google recently released its Nexus 7 tablet, a $199 7-inch tablet with more features and power than Amazon's $199 7-inch Kindle Fire. However, Amazon just boosted the competitive playing field with its new Kindle Fire HD line, which features 7-inch and 8.9-inch models with more power and more features for only $199 and $299 respectively. On the higher end, a 4G LTE version of the Kindle Fire HD will be released in November with an incredible $50/year data package.

Source: The New York Times

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Alternatives . . . . ???
By jfish222 on 9/11/2012 2:29:34 PM , Rating: 2
Its a shame, part of Google Shoppers appeal was that I knew it was a best effort to scour the internet. Those hidden gems could be discovered to save a few bucks (especially for obscure parts/items).

Anyone know of any alternatives? If its a paid service is going to be limited, I'm looking for a true crawler...


RE: Alternatives . . . . ???
By Reflex on 9/11/2012 2:37:15 PM , Rating: 4
Honestly Bing has always done better with shopping than Google anyways. I tend to find Google is better at finding technical information, but Bing is better at doing price comparisons. Usually Bing, Amazon and Newegg are my sources when looking for prices(Newegg dependent on if its electronics or not).

RE: Alternatives . . . . ???
By Reclaimer77 on 9/11/2012 6:04:57 PM , Rating: 2
Bing? What's that?

RE: Alternatives . . . . ???
By xti on 9/12/2012 12:53:12 AM , Rating: 2
chandler's last name.

RE: Alternatives . . . . ???
By Natch on 9/11/2012 3:24:42 PM , Rating: 2
Bing's shopping search isn't bad (though I do tend to see a lot of duplicates).

You might also try, for general items, and, for computer/electronics items.

By inperfectdarkness on 9/12/2012 3:38:56 PM , Rating: 2
Am I the only one who goes to Ebay first?

As soon as Saturday rolls around...
By Pneumothorax on 9/11/2012 3:14:46 PM , Rating: 2
I'm going to cancel Amazon Prime as they've made a deal with the Devil (CA state gov) in CA and will start to charge on-line sales taxes. Going to start using sites like google now for the best prices.

By kilkennycat on 9/11/2012 3:50:59 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe you should read the following article first....

Amazon made a VERY reluctant but best-for-them business decision, after fighting the sales-tax issue for years.

Best of luck in getting better prices INCLUDING SHIPPING if you ditch Amazon Prime... unless you want to wait up to 2 weeks for ground delivery..

Got any friends in Oregon? No sales tax. Have your really expensive Amazon purchases shipped there and re-shipped to you courtesy of UPS/Fedex.

RE: As soon as Saturday rolls around...
By Reflex on 9/11/2012 8:38:04 PM , Rating: 3
They were not going to win any court cases there, Amazon has nexus status in that state due to having several facilities there.

What really needs to happen is that initiative to homogenize and standardize state sales taxes, Amazon has been pushing it for a while now, and it would apply equally to all online retailers.

By RufusM on 9/12/2012 9:35:19 AM , Rating: 2
Amazon should only have to pay state sales tax for those states they have a nexus in AND only for those customers living in the states they have a nexus in.

Sales taxes are charged by the state , and possibly other local governments, and cover intrastate commerce only. Interstate commerce is regulated by the federal government and it has no such sales taxes.

Users purchasing interstate goods are required to pay use taxes (by most state laws) on those goods, so the states should be going after their citizens for not paying their use tax.

Google Shopping
By EricMartello on 9/11/2012 10:25:34 PM , Rating: 2
You're comparing a search engine to an etailer, but that aside, it would make sense that amazon is "winning" the shopping war since they not only sell their own products, but offer anyone the option to sell products alongside their own.

One thing that makes google shopping a plus is that it's free to use and free to publish your products on there if you are an etailer. I often check google shopping to get an idea of what a product is selling for.

I'd say 80% of the time Amazon has the best deal - even if their price is slightly higher I still order since I get free 2-day shipping and they have a flexible and easy return process. The other 20% of the time it's usually ebay or a smaller estore selling what I want at a steep discount.

RE: Google Shopping
By tayb on 9/11/2012 10:33:19 PM , Rating: 2
It's a fair comparison because Google draws a ton of revenue from ad clicks for products. If people search for products on Google and click on ads, Google gets paid. If people search for products on Amazon, Google gets nothing. These guys are bigger competitors than most people think.

RE: Google Shopping
By EricMartello on 9/12/2012 6:08:14 PM , Rating: 2
The fundamental difference is that Amazon is selling products and has a streamlined infrastructure for doing so. Google is just listing products and up to now they have been doing so for free. They recently start allowing businesses to pay per click to receive better exposure for their product listings.

Until google starts their own ecommerce store, google's shopping search engine is offering a complimentary service rather than a competitive service with regards to Amazon.

No Google shopping for me
By Denigrate on 9/11/2012 3:11:43 PM , Rating: 3
They don't allow any kind of firearms related goods, and are militant about enforcing it.

RE: No Google shopping for me
By Omega215D on 9/11/2012 6:11:51 PM , Rating: 2
After what happened in Aurora and elsewhere I think legislators and general public will come down hard on internet sales of firearm related goods.

Why I Search Amazon
By mindless1 on 9/13/2012 2:22:16 PM , Rating: 2
I live in a state that Amazon taxes so often I do not make a purchase there, but I go there (and Newegg) often because they have a couple very valuable features that Google lacks - Customer reviews and photos. With so many products to choose from the question of who is both reliable and has the lowest price is a secondary concern to deciding whether I even want the particular product I'm seeking or something else instead.

That's the key to my online purchases vs being able to examine something closely at a B&M store. Used to be, I'd go to a B&M to check out a high ticket item before buying online but the internet citizens have begun to appreciate the details relevant to a particular product and share their knowledge.

This is what the internet was supposed to be, to allow us to work as a collective hive. Pity it had to evolve around consumerism instead of mankind's more pressing problems but you take what you can get.

"I'm an Internet expert too. It's all right to wire the industrial zone only, but there are many problems if other regions of the North are wired." -- North Korean Supreme Commander Kim Jong-il

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