• United States
Contributing Writer

Google gets Froogle

Jan 21, 20033 mins
Enterprise Applications

* Google's latest search facility aims to help consumers shop wisely

Google, the maker of what I believe to be one of the best search engines on the Web is moving onto its next big adventure – the crazy world of online shopping.

Called Froogle, Google’s Internetwide engine, gathers up products and pricing from around the Web and allows you to search for just about anything.

For instance, I typed in “gold watch” on the beta site and got back as the top result a Tiffany’s white and gold watch priced at $1,600 from AuctionWatch. Not bad as results go. The search returned more than 287,000 products I could surf through. My own private gold watch shopping mall.

Testing out the price limiter feature, I put in a range of between $500 and $700 that I wanted to spend on this gold watch. The results were narrowed to a healthy 1,690, including offerings from and CatalogCity.

And that was just the “objective results.” On the right hand side of the page, Froogle offered up “sponsored links” which let you go right to sites that feature a range of gold watches. Not a bad idea.

Within the gold watch category, I also was given the option of selecting specific subtopics, such as watch accessories, women’s watches, men’s watches, etc.

It seems Google has put the same tremendous effort into Froogle as it has its Internet search engine, anticipating for shoppers the paths and subpaths they might want to follow. And because it is not a place to purchase the items you find, it is not beholden to play favorites with certain retailers.

I tried a series of searches, including diapers (which not only returned links to buy diapers, but also suggested such things as baby clothes. On a funny note, the search also returned the possibility of following an “auto and vehicles” path, which struck me as odd. But featured on that string were cloth diapers that could also be used to shine your car.

I also tried searching for specific products such as the titles of books and was thrilled to have it return exactly what I was looking for with several outlets to purchase the book.

Turns out Google uses its spider software to crawl the Web and look for sites that sell products. It then catalogs those sites. Merchants can also submit information about their products. However, Google does not do placement preference or accept payment for inclusion.

I know this is just a beta for the Google folks, but keep up the good work… you’re definitely on the right track.