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Local shopping search tool Milo is moving past big-box retailers and is starting to track real-time product availability from one-of-a-kind stores. That brings the total number of products the Palo Alto-based company tracks to 2.8 million.
Milo’s vision is to let consumers know which stores have what right now for every product in the country. For example, when a consumer searches for a product on the site, the company returns in-stock results from nearby outlets. With the new addition of 100 small-time stores today, a small neighborhood boutique should get the same billing as a national chain.
It’s important because the company needs to prove its unique value as Google has started moving into the space. Last month, Google launched a feature called Blue Dot Specials in mobile search. Whenever a user does a Google product search from a phone, blue dots will show up when items the person’s looking for are in-stock at stores close by.
And on Tuesday, Google revamped its location-based advertising products as Google Places. The search giant also recently started accepting applications for stores which wished to offer photos from inside its stores in the Google Maps Street View feature, which currently lets users browse streetfront views of businesses they search for.
Milo executives have previously said they feel their business is safe because it takes a lot of effort to arrange these deals and Google probably won’t expend all of its energy trying to capture these smaller stores.
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