|Initial release||December 12, 2002 (as Froogle)|
|Operating system||Any (web-based application)|
Google Shopping, formerly Google Product Search, Google Products and Froogle, is a Google service invented by Craig Nevill-Manning which allows users to search for products on online shopping websites and compare prices between different vendors.
Originally, the service listed prices submitted by merchants, and was monetized through AdWords advertising like other Google services. However, in May 2012, Google announced that the service (which was also immediately renamed Google Shopping) would shift in late-2012 to a paid model where merchants would have to pay the company in order to list their products on the service.
Created by Craig Nevill-Manning and launched in December 2002, Froogle was different from most other price comparison services in that it used Google's web crawler to index product data from the websites of vendors instead of using paid submissions. As with Google Search, Froogle was instead monetized using Google's AdWords keyword advertising platform.
With its re-branding as Google Product Search, the service was modified to emphasize integration with Google Search; listings from the service could now appear alongside web search results.
Google prominently featured the service result in Google Search starting in January 2008 in Germany and the United Kingdom. It subsequently extended the practice to France in October 2010, Italy, the Netherlands, and Spain in May 2011, the Czech Republic in February 2013 and Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Norway, Poland and Sweden in November 2013.
Change to paid listings
Alongside the announcement of an immediate re-brand to Google Shopping on May 31, 2012, Google also announced that in late 2012, it would change the service to use a "pay-to-play" model, where merchants would have to pay Google to list their products on the service, with results influenced by both relevance and the bid amounts they pay. Google justified the move by stating that it would allow the service to "deliver the best answers for people searching for products and help connect merchants with the right customers."
The change proved controversial; some small businesses showed concern that they would not be able to compete with larger companies that can afford a larger advertising budget. Microsoft's Bing also attacked the move in an advertising campaign known as "Scroogled," which called Google out for using "deceptive advertising practices" and suggesting that users use its competing Bing Shopping service instead.
Google also revealed plans to integrate Google Catalogs with Google Shopping, to give users "more ways to find ideas and inspiration as you shop and engage with your favorite brand."
Google Shopping was originally known as Froogle, a pun on the term "frugal." On April 18, 2007, the product was renamed Google Product Search; the name was dropped due to concerns surrounding internationalization, people not understanding the pun or understanding what the service was actually about, and concerns related to the company's trademark infringement lawsuit against competing website Froogles. On May 31, 2012, the product was renamed to Google Shopping. The URL "froogle.com" remains as a redirect to Google Shopping's website.
On June 27, 2017, the European Commissioner for Competition, Margrethe Vestager, decided to fine Google €2.4 billion for breaching EU antitrust rules. Google was found to have abused its market dominance as a search engine by giving illegal advantages to another Google product, its own comparison shopping service.
According to the European Commission, Google started giving its own Froogle significantly better treatment than rivals as early as 2008. It first began in Germany and the United Kingdom, followed by France, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, then the Czech Republic and finally Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Norway, Poland and Sweden. A total 418 million citizens of the European Economic Area are claimed to have been deprived of the full benefits of competition, genuine choice and innovation. Further damage payments may have to be required from Google should it not comply with European antitrust rules within 90 days.
- Czech Republic
- United Kingdom
- United States
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