Google Images is receiving an extra layer: the search engine has started a test in the United States in which it becomes a web shop, as it adds price information and a shopping link to its images.
Images turn into ads
So far, the trial has been small scale and in the United States only, but it is an interesting idea: surfers can buy products straight from the Images search results: "A recent study shows that Google is the first place US shoppers go to discover or find a new brand or product. But shoppers aren’t just doing their searches on Google.com. We’ve seen that 50 percent of online shoppers said images of the product inspired them to purchase, and increasingly, they’re turning to Google Images", Vice President Product Management Surojit Chatterjee explains in a blog post.
Retailers will have to pay a small fee for the 'shoppable ads', essentially turning the search results into small banners. To be transparent, Google will show a price tag on every sponsored ad. Moving the mouse cursor over such an add will show the surfer all the articles that are for sale in the image, including prices and brands. One add can have several shoppable ads, like for example a picture in an Ikea catalogue.
Google versus Amazon
The ads will also be used in searches for other terms than just the product or brand names: people who search for things like "home office ideas", "shower tile designs" or "abstract art" will also be shown such ads. Google says it will "continue to roll this out to more categories across more retailers over the next few months."
With this test, Google wants to regain ground on Amazon, which has become the surfers' first port of call when it comes to searching for products. The test could also have major consequences for small-scale retailers and brands without a web shop, as people searching for products will be even more tempted to buy them online - even if they only wanted to look for information in the first place.