The holiday season is around the corner, and Google’s revamping its ecommerce platform in anticipation. This morning, it announced a refreshed Google Shopping portal for desktop and mobile in the U.S., which it characterized as a streamlining of the product discovery experience. Alongside it, the Mountain View company rolled out a new fashion recommendation feature for Google Lens, its cross-platform AI-powered search and computer vision tool.
“When shopping for something, the web is a seemingly endless source of ideas, products, and choices. But finding inspiration, comparing your options, and grabbing the best deals can still be a lot of work,” wrote Google Shopping VP Surojit Chatterjee in a blog post. “We redesigned Google Shopping to make this a bit simpler — it brings together shopping information across the web and from local stores so that you can easily research and buy what you’re looking for.”
So what’s new? Well, there’s a personalized homepage with product suggestions, as well as new sections that allow you to reorder common items or dive deeper into a product category. Purchase links to nearby and online stores are now more prominent than before, and a new search filter lets you look specifically for items in stock at shops within driving distance.
More usefully, a new price tracker lets you chart the price of a product over time. You’ll receive an alert via your phone (and soon email) when the sticker price drops below a certain threshold.
Google is also highlighting stores that integrate with Google Checkout, its online payment service tied to users’ Google accounts. Products and product images from retailers that choose to allow users to buy on Google directly are designated with a colorful shopping cart icon. As before, those purchases are backed by Google’s guarantee, which offers purchase protection for orders up to $2,500 (including tax and shipping) that are delivered late or not received in the condition expected. (Merchants have to pass a screening in order to qualify.)
Google says it continues to invest in clean energy products to offset carbon emissions created by every shipment it facilitates.
Alongside the Google Shopping enhancements, Google today announced a Google Lens enhancement coming down the pipeline. Starting this week in the U.S., Lens will begin surfacing outfit and apparel suggestions from around the web inspired by screenshots and photos.
Lens product manager Kelly Schaefer explains how it works in a blog post: “If you see a leopard print skirt you like on social media, take a screenshot and use Lens … to see how other people have styled similar looks. See a winter coat that catches your eye in a store, but need some inspiration on how to rock it? Just open Lens and point your camera.”
You’ll recall that Lens began as a feature exclusive to Pixel smartphones, but it quickly spread to Google Photos and now ships onboard flagship smartphones from companies like Sony and LG.
The growing list of things Lens can recognize covers over 1 billion products from Google Shopping, including furniture, clothing, books, movies, music albums, and video games. (That’s in addition to landmarks, points of interest, notable buildings, Wi-Fi network names and passwords, flowers, pets, beverages, and celebrities.) Lens can also surface stylistically similar home decor and read words on signage and prompt you to take action. Perhaps most useful of all, it’s able to extract phone numbers, dates, and addresses from business cards and add them to your contacts list.
At the I/O keynote back in May, Google took the wraps off a real-time analysis mode for Lens that superimposes recognition dots over actionable elements in the live camera feed — a feature that launched first on the Pixel 3 and 3 XL. Lens not long ago came to Google image searches on the web, and more recently Google brought Lens to iOS through the Google app and launched a redesigned experience across Android and iOS.