Google: Search vital for online shopping

As the Christmas season approaches, Google has offered online retailers new search technology to enhance the customer shopping experience.

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Google has unveiled a new tool designed to power search on retail websites so that retailers can increase sales and improve their customers' online experiences.

Nitin Mangtani, lead product manager for Google Enterprise Search products, said that while working on the new product, dubbed Commerce Search, he talked to analysts about the state of e-commerce search in the retail space, as well as retailers in the UK and US market.

He said that nobody in the retail space actually wanted to build a search technology or focus on the customer experience, so instead they relied on third party websites and search technologies, which he said was "very expensive".

He claimed that it was often done "on premise", needing both hardware and software, and was very expensive to deploy. Many retail websites took a lot of time to respond to search queries and it was difficult to find a product due to the search quality not being good enough.

"There was a gap between what the consumer expectation was and the search technology, and that really motivated us to create this product," Mangtani said.

Mangtani added that Google Commerce Search focused on three main areas. Number one was search quality, with the product needing to be on a par with what consumers expected from the overall Google experience. Latency was the second aspect as he claimed that shoppers were looking for "ultra fast search".

"The third thing is that the product is completely hosted on Google's cloud. You don't need to worry about any hardware or software deployment," he said.

"What happens if [the retailer's] traffic suddenly goes 10 times higher due to the holiday season or due to a promotion? They don't need to worry about it because we have enough hardware provision in our datacentres worldwide."

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