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Google Base Retail Rumours Confirmed 87

kaufmanmoore writes "According to an MSNBC report, the head of Google's European arm has said that Google wants to use Google Base for brick and mortar stores to submit lists of goods and prices in order to create an online presence." From the article: "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.'
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Google Base Retail Rumours Confirmed

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  • Froogle anyone? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by myspys ( 204685 ) * on Thursday March 16, 2006 @12:28PM (#14933984) Homepage
    But.. isn't this exactly what Froogle [] is?
    • by Anonymous Coward
      I get the feeling that this is going to be Froogle+. A step beyound what they're presently doing. The more important question which the story raises is how well this new Google initive compares against what's already out there?
    • by blueZ3 ( 744446 ) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @12:47PM (#14934200) Homepage
      When I'm searching for something online, I'm usually looking for a single item or a set of related items. This usually makes Froogle a good starting point; I search for arcade pushbuttons, and I get links to stores that sell them along with other arcade console items. Poking around a few sites usually leads to one with good prices on the things I want, and I make a purchase.

      Really, I don't see the benefit of aggregating content across stores. How often does someone go looking for a doorknob, a picture frame, and a KVM all at once? Online shopping is fundamentally different than shopping at a physical store, but it's not that different: I want to find a competent supplier of each thing, not a one-stop-shop where I have to wonder about the quality of service and related issues. And if they're just showing me info from three different places in a single search, but I am actually making three orders, what's the advantage?

      Color me unimpressed
      • by corbettw ( 214229 ) <corbettw@yahoo . c om> on Thursday March 16, 2006 @01:36PM (#14934732) Journal
        How often does someone go looking for a doorknob, a picture frame, and a KVM all at once?

        Have you not noticed the recent Wal*Mart ad campaign? "I went in for chips and salsa, and walked out with this great deck furniture." Or "I went in for hemorhoids cream, and walked out with a new car." That kind of thing.

        The point is, when someone's in the mood to browse and spend, the more products you can put in front of them, the more they'll buy. "Stack 'em high and watch 'em buy" is a retail maxim. Why do you think Fry's Electronics (for those unfortunate enough to have one near them) load up their check out lanes with all kinds of random junk? This is just more of the same, present as many products as possible, and people will inevitably buy them. It's just how our culture is.
        • Why do you think Fry's Electronics (for those unfortunate enough to have one near them) load up their check out lanes with all kinds of random junk?

          I just have to say, Fry's fucking rules if you know what you're doing. It's a little bit like going to a sketchy part of town you're not familiar with - you just need to go with someone who knows their way around to avoid getting jacked. If you are aware that you have to always check packages to make sure they have the right product in them, you can do pre

          • It can be pretty hard to get your hands on it, though, because they're too stupid to put a PDF on their website. You pretty much have to get a sunday paper.

            Being a SF Bay longtime resident, I gotta second this... man, I love to read their sunday paper adverts.. it's so dumb of them that they don't just publish this via pdf or something (probably to avoid other stores from "gaming" with their prices).

            They're also quite dumb in that up until 1999 or somthing they didn't even have a website... ironically, the

        • "I went in for hemorhoids cream, and walked out with a new car."
          You mean, "I went in for a new car, and walked out needing hemorrhoid cream"
        • Fry's Electronics (for those unfortunate enough to have one near them)

          Dude, unfortunate? Over the years they've let me borrow all sorts for goodies to try out and then return after I figured out they didn't work for me/I didn't need them/I didn't like the color, or whatever.

          I like Fry's.

    • Re:Froogle anyone? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by wenzi ( 6465 ) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @01:00PM (#14934339) Homepage
      I think it is very similar to Froogle. But I am sure someone in Google has noticed that fact also.

      What I think is interesting is how Google payments works with Google base and not Froogle.

      I think when retailers go for Google base, there will be a pre-built e-commerce rig waiting to go.

      Froogle will be for the rest of us punters.
    • Re:Froogle anyone? (Score:3, Informative)

      by sirambrose ( 919153 )
      It is sort of like froogle without the screen scraping. Because the content provider enters the information about the item, there is all kinds of neat attributes that can be used to narrow the search. For example a honda civic [] can be classified by price, make, year, color, model, engine, mileage, door count, and body style. You can actually search for a used 2000-2002 civic sedan with 50-75k miles that costs less than $12,000 and is less than 100 miles from your house. It appears that has put a
      • And it's also for brick-and-mortar shops, in case everyone.. I mean someone, forgot to RTFA. That would mean you can search for prices that don't exist anywhere else on the net. As it says in the summary, "in order to create an online presence.", or in TFA: "Some retailers are yet to set up their own internet operations, even though consumer purchases online have soared."

        This is a new thing, not just another

        • Yeah. Bricks and mortar shops like car dealers and stuff that want to advertise their inventory and prices. The poster I replied to wanted to know how Base differs from Froogle and implied that he wanted to know why this feature wasn't being added to froogle instead. The big difference is that instead of comparing prices from web merchants, it allows people to find items offered for sale based on detailed criteria including the physical location of the vendor. Is that clear enough for you?
      • Froogle might have started off screen scraping, but normally you (the merchant) set up an account for your store and then upload a csv text file with the product name, description, image link, product link, etc.

        base is similar (merchant uploads file), but uses a modified rss/atom feed. It's a lot more flexible as far as specifying attributes (ie, color, size, weight, etc).

    • Froogle just links to your current web pages/shopping cart application -- this sounds like they'll be your shopping cart application. Big difference.
  • Google Base
    Slightly used; usage will increase quickly over time.
    Will provide a wealth of information on your competitors and other individuals.

    |insert snapshot of googlebase information here|

    Asking Price: $G,ooo,ooo,ooo,ooo,gle
  • by eldoo77 ( 817524 ) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @12:36PM (#14934082)
    All your base are belong to Google... Really!
    • > All your base are belong to Google... Really!

      Well, it's a database-driven app, so it's gonna be something like this:

      Either that, or we go the retail website route:
      # chown -R google /htdocs/products/*/base

  • Well.. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ackthpt ( 218170 ) * on Thursday March 16, 2006 @12:36PM (#14934083) Homepage Journal
    After attending SDWest yesterday and listening to Jeff Barr from Amazon Web Services, I expect Google has to be doing something. I don't mean to evangelize Amazon, but to shed some light on what they have been doing, which was brought to light on the 14th, regarding this online storage. They have web services, which you can program and wot and build your own online businesses with, which for a small brick and mortar, could be quite a bonus (Amazon have worked with small booksellers and wot for years, now anyone can.)

    Check it out, at least, at []

  • Could this be the first step before the EU puts sanctions on Google along with Microsoft? Maybe not soon, maybe not to the same extent, but the EU seems to be hellbent on preventing monopolies.
    • No, the EU seems to be hellbent on preventing monopolies from engaging in anti-competitive practices.

      What has Google done to stifle competition? What is preventing other organisations from offering the exact same service?

      • Well if we follow the logic used to say Apple had a monopoly digital music, you don't really need to stifle competition - you just need to be the most successful. Google isn't suing other web companies claiming stolen ideas or whatnot but since they are company most freely associated with the internet they must have monopoly on name recognition.

        If you reduce your circles enough, you can find monopolies everywhere.
        • Well if we follow the logic used to say Apple had a monopoly digital music

          Why would we do that? The only antitrust lawsuit pending for Apple is the one in California as far as I know, and California is definitely not a member state of the EU. Virgin tried to sue Apple for anticompetitive behaviour in France, but the court ruled against Virgin [].

  • by user24 ( 854467 ) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @12:38PM (#14934103) Homepage
    Am I the only one who (for a second) thought that google were actually beginning construction of their other base []
  • by revery ( 456516 ) * <> on Thursday March 16, 2006 @12:39PM (#14934110) Homepage
    Seems like there should be a joke that I could make about Google Base... and how everything will belong to them...

    Google: All the retail is ours.... No that's not right...

    Something really obvious...

    Google: We own you... No...

    Oh well. Maybe someone can set me up the joke...

    No? OK....
  • by Shivetya ( 243324 ) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @12:40PM (#14934126) Homepage Journal
    So they will index deals submitted by stores.

    Who is going to collect the funds?

    Who is going to deal with the fraud?

    Who is going to be responsible for the accuracy of the information presented?

    Will google police stores that advertise one price but sell at another (or just bury more profit in S&H?)

    Sounds like a high tech flea market. Without any guarantees this could devolve quickly into a disaster. Is Google prepared to vouch for the information, if not how will they convince people to use a service they won't stand behind?

    • I agree and also if I find a retailer that seems to have some sort of Google endorsement, I have a "no shananagan" expectation. I'm not saying that Google has to warrent every product sold through these stores, but they can't simply act as a middle man and use their name to woo customers but not offer anything in return to the customers. I'm a little concerned Google is getting itself into something with a lot of competition. Not to say there weren't search engines before and after Google, but searching
    • I suspect they will use some sort of community voting to establish confidence in vendors - just like ebay.
    • Is Google prepared to vouch for the information, if not how will they convince people to use a service they won't stand behind?

      Ever actually tried to get Ebay to resolve a fraud issue? It was easier (and cheaper!) just to forget the whole thing.
    • They'll include a bigass disclaimer to the effect of "Use at your own risk, no warranties/liabilities represented bla bla". That's how.
  • by aphoenix ( 877085 ) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @12:42PM (#14934137)
    And the Google Countdown to Evil continues... Don't get me wrong, I love Google, but they really need to make sure that they're using their powers for Awesome.
  • ...I have wanted something like this for a long time. Even now, as internet commerce is firmly established in the mainstream, you have to work very hard to aggregate all the information you need when you are SHOPPING (as opposed to BUYING) online.

    After all this time I still have to spend a lot of time just looking for the best prices for things like replacement computer parts to feed my hobby.

  • Google Information (Score:3, Informative)

    by VeryHotTopic ( 954703 ) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @12:44PM (#14934167) Homepage
    FYI, Google Base is still under development. Most likely the service will give retailers access to hundreds of millions of Google users. You can visit it at
  • I was invited to use Google Base using the Google Payment Corp. Google has a payment service that people can pay me with, and it is better than PayPal.
  • Where I'd like to see this most are for things that aren't easily shipped. TV's, Appliances, etc. The problem is will google be able to pester the businesses enough to keep their inventories updated. I'd be pissed if I drove out somewhere only to find that they're OOS. And no, calling first defeats the purpose of this product IMO.

    There *is* a reason that these stores don't have a good online presence. It's probably not a web programmer's fault, but more of the stores not being able to integrate the needs o
    • Actually a lot of stores don't have a strong online presence because they don't want one. They know they are not price competitive and use old world media marketing to get people into their stores, where they can't compare price and their customers basically pay up to 50% more than a competitive online price.

      I often prefer to pick up now rather than wait for delivery, so I call the store and give them the online price from a relatively reliable online store, if the bricks and mortar store BS about the unr

  • by csoto ( 220540 ) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @01:43PM (#14934811)
    then you have the ultimate in Mom-and-Pop competitive advantage to big corporate box retailers. I'd love to be able to find just the right product at a shop down the street than have to go to Best Buy or Increasing the ability to find their inventories will help immensely.

    This is where the moronic book publishers get things wrong - by Google helping consumers actually FIND the crap they sell, they DRIVE business TOWARDS your stupid company. Oh, and ISPs get it wrong too. The only reason we pay monthly fees to get IP service is because companies like Google provide compelling reasons to do so. Otherwise, I'd take up windsurfing or something...
    • Interesting thoughts...

      I can see how, on the surface, this looks like an advantage for the Mom & Pop shops, but the reality of it is that it hurts them.

      Because the large retailers have more purchasing leverage and lower marginal costs than a Mom & Pop retailer, the large chain is able to offer the product at a lower cost.

      When purchasing online the two major points of consideration for any consumer are:
      1. Price. Comparing price is very easy online
      2. Speed, reliability, and cost of shipping
      • Agreed. I often prefer criteria #2 to #1, particularly when #1 isn't that big of a difference. But there's also a #3, which is "service." I much prefer to give my money to the guys down at the local hardware store, because they actually help me find what I need. Not so for Home Depot. They suck.
  • Brick and Mortar? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MaWeiTao ( 908546 ) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @01:45PM (#14934834)
    People will probably consider this trolling, but I can't stand that expression brick and mortar.

    Why can't it just be called a physical store? What if my store is made of wood and sheetrock? Who comes up with these obnoxious, self-important business terms?

    And with that, I have to go pull the trigger on something...
    • Click and mortar

      Ready to kill yourself yet?
    • Who comes up with these obnoxious, self-important business terms?

      Google is unleashing a long tail, soup-to-nuts integrated solution that satisfies pent-up demand and synergizes efficiencies. It's a slam-dunk no-brainer!

    • Re:Brick and Mortar? (Score:4, Informative)

      by kruczkowski ( 160872 ) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @01:58PM (#14934968) Homepage
      The name comes from Banks. During US expantion in the 1800's, Banks held a lot of cash and were the only buildings in town to be built with "bricks and mortar".
    • The post above is correct. Banks did come up with the term, and their lobbyists had it put into law that banks had to be brick, not wood. Since most of the large, established banks of the time already were brick, this meant their competitors couldn't just rent land and throw up a cheap, wooden building, but had to be willing to cough up the significant extra expense for bricks and masons.

      It's the traditional Economics 101 example of businesses protecting themselves by raising barriers to entry into the mar

  • All your base are... oh, nevermind.
  • "GoogleBase?" Just wait a minute, I invented that and I've got the sketches on a napkin to prove it. You owe me big time and until you pay up I'm going to have a judge slap on a restraining order.

    Sincerely yours,

    Al Gore-Rhythm

  • by xxxJonBoyxxx ( 565205 ) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @02:54PM (#14935637)
    "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."

    Typical Retail Executive: "Yes, thank you, Google, for offering me an easy way to redefine the retail brand I've been building for years as just another price player. Would you like me to send over demographics of my key customers and how we reach them via advertising too? Yes? OK, I'll get right on that. (click)"

  • Did anyone else really hope they meant Google Moon Base []? I was so going to apply. []

  • I can see it now... "Google suceedes from the US to form its own country... Matt Cutts is elected President of the UN."
  • by British ( 51765 ) <> on Thursday March 16, 2006 @04:52PM (#14936603) Homepage Journal
    I can't wait to shop with Google Base at PriceRitePhoto!
  • Google will be teh suxorz. We will be fondly remembering the good old Windows/Linux golden age, when you had apps and data on your own machine instead of hotnetting on your rights-managed, government monitored Googlepod cranial implant.

Parkinson's Law: Work expands to fill the time alloted it.