Over the last few months the company has rolled out several new products that have directly (or indirectly) targeted the consumer in an attempt to win back lost ad revenue from Amazon's (AMZN) marketplace and Prime shipping service.
Ultimately, these moves have raised questions as to whether Google's real goal is to create a full-out marketplace. While there are differing opinions as to Google's potential success in this space, it's clear the company is looking to snag a slice of the retail market.
Here's a look at how Google is laying down the framework to reinvent how consumers shops.Shipping Service Google is reportedly in talks with retailers to offer fast, cheap delivery to compete with Amazon Prime. According to The Wall Street Journal, Google has made pitches to retailers like Macy's (M), Gap (GPS) and OfficeMax (OMX). Google may also be looking to partner with shippers like UPS (UPS). Amazon, through its $79 per year Prime service, provides users with two-day shipping for free. According to the newspaper, Google plans to meld an existing product-search feature that directs shopper to retail Web sites with a new quick-shipping service that it will oversee. When shoppers place an order on those retailers' sites, Google's system could offer them an option for same-day or possibly next-day delivery, the Journal reported. Google plans to pilot test the service in San Francisco sometime next year, the Journal said. In-store Maps Google launched earlier in the week its in-door maps program, a tool that allows users to navigate, among other things, retail stores and shopping malls. Macy's, Home Depot (HD)and Ikea are among the major retailers that have already partnered with Google, and it is expected more retailers will sign on following the initial rollout. On Google's blog, Brian McClendon, vice president of engineering, Google Earth & Map, said: "When you're inside an airport, shopping mall or retail store, a common way to figure out where you are is to look for a freestanding map directory or ask an employee for help. Starting today, with the release of Google Maps 6.0 for Android, that directory is brought to the palm of your hands, helping you determine where you are, what floor you're on, and where to go indoors." Shoppers can use the tool to search store layouts via their mobile device.
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