Google is serious about becoming an e-commerce hub. It's not going to become the next Amazon overnight, but it wants a piece of the pie and it's working to get it. Whether it's going to succeed is a different story, Google has been doing a lot of "me-too" moves lately, especially in commerce and local web, none of them too great.
The latest move has to do with Google Shopping, the new paid product search engine that it's introducing in the US. Google is now integrating Catalogs, which it debuted last year, into Shopping, which makes sense.
Google Catalogs, as the name suggests, is a tool for exploring shopping catalogs, in all their richness, created especially for tablets.
"Google Catalogs has grown to become one of the largest collections of digital catalogs, featuring thousands of issues from over 300 retail brands, including catalog favorites like Williams Sonoma, J.Crew, Eddie Bauer, and more," Google explained.
"Today we’re excited to announce that shoppers can now browse our entire catalog inventory on the web through Google Shopping, making it easier than ever to stay up to date on the latest styles, shop for products, or maybe even get a head start on holiday wishlists," it said.
The new homepage is at google.com/shopping/catalogs. There you'll find all of the latest issues as well as featured catalogs picked by the editor.
The move also means that the service is available over the web to everyone, not just people with an iPad or an Android tablet. The app versions of Google Catalogs are still available though.
Google plans to integrate Catalogs with Shopping even further so you're probably going to stumble upon links to the various catalogs via the new product search engine. In fact, that's probably the biggest way through which people will even realize Catalogs exists.