Google is working hard to drive business to local retailers. A new feature in Now, their Search skin, should help to that end, as the service will now show you which local retailers have items you’ve recently searched for. It’s a bit of gamesmanship from Google, but also gets items to up quickly should we want to go pick them up.
If you do a Google search for an item, you’ll sometimes see ads scroll across the top, showing you where the item is available. Google is taking that initiative one step further, monitoring the item long after you’ve stopped looking for it and feeding you Google Now cards. Sourcing local retailers, the aim is to get you buying instead of looking.
The information is pretty simple, offering to let you know the item is at the store, but not whether it’s in stock or not. It’s a nice real-world alternative to Amazon, and offers to let you get items quickly and efficiently. Look for something on the desktop, and it alerts you via Now when you’re out and about.
As Google aims to sell ads to retailers, they want to prove their service works. This is useful to the shopper, but also a feature Google can boast about when selling ad space in Search. We don’t know if these cards are for any retailer, or those who purchase ad space with Google. We also don’t know if the cards are limited to those in Google’s ad network.
What we do know is that we will start getting cards, encouraging us to buy things we search for. That’s potentially as obnoxious as it is cool.