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The Almighty Buck Google The Internet Technology

Google Makes Push To Turn Product Searches Into Cash (reuters.com) 66

Reuters reports of how Google is working to turn product searches into cash by partnering with some of the largest retailers in the United States: Under a new program, retailers can list their products on Google Search, as well as on the Google Express shopping service, and Google Assistant on mobile phones and voice devices. In exchange for Google listings and linking to retailer loyalty programs, the retailers pay Google a piece of each purchase, which is different from payments that retailers make to place ads on Google platforms. The listings will appear under sponsored shopping results and will not affect regular search results on Google, the company said. Google's pitch to retailers is a better chance to influence shoppers' purchasing decisions, a move that is likely to help them compete with rival Amazon. Google hopes the program helps retailers capture more purchases on desktop, cell phones and smart home devices with voice search -- the next frontier for e-commerce. The previously unreported initiative sprang from Google's observation that tens of millions of consumers were sending image searches of products, asking "Where can I buy this?" "Where can I find it?" "How can I buy it?" "How do I transact?" Daniel Alegre, Google's president for retail and shopping, told Reuters exclusively.
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Google Makes Push To Turn Product Searches Into Cash

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 19, 2018 @09:30PM (#56288491)

    When people search for those things, they want relevant results. Not paid ones.

    • by SumDog ( 466607 ) on Monday March 19, 2018 @09:48PM (#56288565) Homepage Journal

      But Lycos, Hotbot, AltaVista, DogPile and all the alternative indexes are gone. We're a search mono-culture. I use DuckDuckGo personally, but a good 1/3 of my searchers I add a !g if I can't find the results I want. There are some things I can't even find at all, kept in my notes but no longer present on any major search provider.

      The Internet simply isn't as searchable as it once was.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Dutch Gun ( 899105 )

        The Internet simply isn't as searchable as it once was.

        Seriously? I seem to recall that search services before Google absolutely stunk, with pages and pages of completely irrelevant result. Trying to find what you're actually looking for was a complete PITA. The reason Google became the giant it is now is because they were the first to figure out a truly effective internet search algorithm. And despite showing sponsored results (clearly marked), Google still has highly relevant results for most of what I search for, and presumably most other people, given t

        • by Megol ( 3135005 ) on Tuesday March 20, 2018 @06:15AM (#56289705)

          My experience is that Google(TM!) delivers worse to much worse results today than before. Searching for a certain document I know is available, searchable (not hidden away with robots.txt etc) and not on an obscure site often gives pages after pages of places that doesn't match the search at all or only when "correcting" 50%+ of the search terms. Even when adding terms related to e.g. computers, computer architecture etc. that the wanted document covers the results are hit and miss often with the highest ranking results being completely irrelevant and badly matching. Don't understand it at all.

          Google is still the best search engine sadly.

      • by sinij ( 911942 )

        The Internet simply isn't as searchable as it once was.

        Sadly, this is very true. Even Google today is not nearly as useful as it was only couple years back. If Google can track you, and they almost always can, they think they know better what you are searching for. So you get relevant results to your past searches. This is great if you are searching for cat videos or *ist screeds, but for anything technical it is highly counter-productive.

      • But Lycos, Hotbot, AltaVista, DogPile and all the alternative indexes are gone.

        I remember when AltaVista was my search engine of choice and I had a Lycos email account. Now I just feel old.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by JMJimmy ( 2036122 )

      I spend so much time fighting with Google's intrusive results these days I could hardly even care. The first search engine that builds a sizable index where I can manipulate the search without AI getting in the way, and I'm gone. DuckDuckGo is the closest but their index is about 1/10th the size it needs to be.

      I'm so sick of "Google knows best", inserted images/twitter/"news"/etc, "movies playing in ireland" when I search for "irish movies", and all sorts of other fuckwitterty. I mean why the hell do I c

      • I spend so much time fighting with Google's intrusive results these days I could hardly even care.

        In addition to this apparent statement that Google is going to be serving you a lot of ads in the search results - otherwise how could you monetize them - Google might be attempting social engineering.

        I while back I did a search experiment on this, using a search term that certain groups might find offensive. Used Google and DDG with safesearch off. Not many results for Google, while pages of them from DDG.

        Forgetting for a minute my using a rude term to likely trigger a difference in results, less rude

        • I don't think they're social engineering - simply going where the 'respectable' money is. The resources they likely spend dealing with governments/legal cases over "immorality" has got to be massive. Add in that the companies paying for ads don't generally want to be associated with that kind of stuff, why waste resources/ index space on it? Sure, they still have to index some of the bigger stuff to stay relevant but beyond that, they have no financial interest.

          • I don't think they're social engineering - simply going where the 'respectable' money is.

            Have to disagree with that one. They told James Damore that "If you have a particular opinion, even though it is lawful you shall not be employed by Google."

            Youtube Chief Executive Susan Wojcicki has specifically told people that People who do not toe the line will face consequences. The original cites were of obvious nasty stuff like the guy who posted laughing over a corpse, but now? Gun video channels demonetized than kicked off. MGTOW channels kicked off. Anti-Social Justice Warrior channels kicked.

            • Sounds a bit conspiracy theory to me. Educational channels, LGBT, etc. have been hit as well. I'd put it down to hiring 10,000+ people without adequate training/controls on how policies should be enforced.

              • Sounds a bit conspiracy theory to me. Educational channels, LGBT, etc. have been hit as well. I'd put it down to hiring 10,000+ people without adequate training/controls on how policies should be enforced.

                There is a problem though. Most conspiracy theories have little "just so" aspect. Certainly Damore was fired because of his opinion, and you only have to listen to Wojcicki and understand where she sits on the sociopolitical spectrum, and take her statement that there will be consequences at face value, then see actions that look a lit like consequences happening.

                A connection? Possibly not. Denial of an activity that looks a lot like what the boss lady said she was going to do? Maybe. I mean there are s

      • by pnutjam ( 523990 )
        try ixquick's startpage [ixquick.com]
        • Nice for privacy but it's "enhanced by Google" and full of intrusions into the results so how is it any better? (kinda sluggish too)

          • by pnutjam ( 523990 )
            It is google, via a proxy. The bottom of the page has explanations, and this page [ixquick.com].

            From their page:

            StartPage has the industry's leading Privacy Policy:
            No recording of users' IP addresses.
            No identifying cookies.
            No collection of personal data.
            No sharing personal data with third parties.
            Offering secure, encrypted connections (HTTPS/SSL)
            And a free proxy service that allows anonymous browsing of websites.
    • by AvitarX ( 172628 )

      Why can't the two be related.

      If I want to buy product X, whyvis store Y that sells product X not a great option?

      I find the sponsored links very helpful when actively trying to take part in commerce.

      • Why can't the two be related.

        If I want to buy product X, whyvis store Y that sells product X not a great option?

        I find the sponsored links very helpful when actively trying to take part in commerce.

        Because some of us still do research on the internet, not try to max out our credit cards? Because not everything we do on the internet is buying something. Because if some person or company makes money off my searches, I have to decide if what I am seeing is actually relevant to what I am looking for.

        Is there a troublesome product that the makers of that product can make certain that only positive reviews or research show sup on the first page? Is there a political affiliation that might pay to have it's

    • When I search for those things, I want to know where I can drive in my city and pick it up in 15 minutes, not wait for shipping. Most retailers can't handle that, doesn't matter how much they pay Google to direct me to them or how much data Google puts together.

  • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Monday March 19, 2018 @09:31PM (#56288501)

    Man, I couldn't even finish the summary as my eyes glazed over from seeing Google, Google, Google every few words or so... hope they aren't up to anything that will amount to anything because I just can't finish whatever that is saying.

    • Man, I couldn't even finish the summary as my eyes glazed over from seeing Google, Google, Google every few words or so..

      I remember when Slashdot was about technology and news for nerds, not about websites and search engines and the internet.

      • by rtb61 ( 674572 ) on Monday March 19, 2018 @11:07PM (#56288799) Homepage

        I am starting to forget google even exists I am having to look it up https://duckduckgo.com/?q=goog... [duckduckgo.com] all of the time. It's a choice, be the consumer slave or make digital companies your bitch, your choice, digital slave or ifreeman ;D.

        • Note to younger Slashdotters: Listen to rtb61. Use duckduckgo as your search engine. You never really know, but it doesn't appear that they're collecting your info or selling your eyeballs. Don't fall in love with any dot com. Be prepared to switch up at a moment's notice.

          Big corporations mean you no damn good. They will sell you out cheap. Treat them accordingly.

          Also, don't do drugs and stay in school. We're rooting for you.

          • You never really know, but it doesn't appear that they're collecting your info or selling your eyeballs.

            I can't imagine that completely identification-less ads in their search results and affiliate links can add up to cover the costs. They either at least leak some info about you in order to get paid more, or are financed by other motives.

            This does not preclude them from being a less bad alternative, but do not be fooled by pretty words on a web page.

          • by pnutjam ( 523990 )
            i prefer ixquick.
            https://www.ixquick.com/eng/?
  • Sponsored = (Score:4, Informative)

    by sit1963nz ( 934837 ) on Monday March 19, 2018 @09:34PM (#56288507)
    Sponsored = spam
    which means I ignore it and the company pushing it

    I certainly never buy stuff based on the first advert I see, I search and see who has the best price, and I use Bing, DuckDuckGo to make sure I get the best price.
    • by Luthair ( 847766 )
      Yup, pretty much whenever I search for a product I'm not even looking to buy it. I am only looking to find information about the product.
      • Maybe you could get actual results by tagging -ad -spam -google -bribed -transaction in the search field.

        They're pimps. No finer word than that.

        • by Luthair ( 847766 )
          Ironically Google just lost an anti-trust case for fixing search results by removing all the trashy product searches a few years ago.
    • by cjmnews ( 672731 )

      I am hoping they will eliminate the non-useful results as well.

      You know the ones, where you search for a product and Target and Best Buy both have links with your product in the result, clicking the link shows that they don't have that product. This is highly annoying, and totally useless. Makes me ignore any site that appears in the list that I can remember has fake results.

      I never click on ads, so it does not matter what they show, if I ever saw an ad.

    • I work with small local businesses. It is difficult for a Mom & Pop brick and mortar store to compete against the giant corporate retailers. The changes that Google is making helps small brick and mortar stores at least have a way to get some visibility.

      Try to be open minded about ads and sponsors for search - they aren't all bad.

      Suggestions on how to help these kinds of people are welcomed.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    within a week. Let's face it. I don't want paid results. I want organic search, which is why I never use Google for anything. Anymore, I rarely use search engines anymore. I visit my rather long list of visited sites and know how to find things therein. Google has become far too powerful for the good of the masses. No, thank you, Google.

  • Amazon (Score:2, Interesting)

    If you need to buy something, start at Amazon. Google Shopping or whatever it is called is a disaster. They don't know what they are doing.
    • Re:Amazon (Score:5, Informative)

      by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Monday March 19, 2018 @11:13PM (#56288829)
      Amazon could be dominating (more than they already are), except their search sucks. It's a large part of the reason I still buy most of my computer components from Newegg. Newegg has really useful and easy to use topical include/exclude options for pretty much every search I do, and it's easy to narrow down the results list to a handful of products which are exactly what I want. Amazon's searches seem to be fuzzy - even the include/exclude options seem to be polluted by vendors misrepresenting their products. Their "best match" algorithm seems to work best, except you can't sort it by ratings. If you try, you end up with a bunch of products which are seemingly only vaguely related to your search at the top of the list, or only have 1-2 ratings which are probably paid for. You often have to drill down 3-5 pages before you find a highly-rated product that you're actually searching for.

      A lot of times I actually find it quicker to search for a product on Google, then follow the Amazon link in the search results. I mean I do that too for other sites (e.g. Best Buy, Staples) because they're intolerably slow. But I do it for Amazon simply because their search engine plain sucks. I'm pretty sure it all stems from Amazon trying to satisfy both sides - buyers and sellers. Buyers want highly-rated products that lots of other users have bought and reviewed. Sellers want to be able to break into a market with a new product. So Amazon feels compelled to return search results with few reviews even if that's not what customers want - to encourage more customers to try out new products instead of sticking with the safe choice. The problem is, many product markets are flooded with hundreds of cheap Chinese knockoffs of dubious quality, and Amazon's search engine makes it nigh impossible to filter them out except via the "best match" algorithm which often doesn't return the highest-rated products.

      If Google's offering concentrates on meeting the needs of the buyer, rather than the seller, I could see it becoming very successful.
      •     The only problem with Newegg is their return process. I bought an SSD from them (seller) that ended up being OEM drive without warranty. I didn't even open the box and sent it straight back and it still took 3 weeks to get my actual refund. I don't have a lot of returns, but Amazon makes it SOOOO easy with immediate refunds.

      • I hate to admit it but I often use NewEgg as a search engine. Once I find something I want on NewEgg I'll search for it on Amazon by model number, or something like that, and find it is cheaper there. I used to go to NewEgg 100% of the time years back but after they dropped free three day shipping I find myself using Amazon more on account of having a Prime subscription.
  • by Bob-Bob Hardyoyo ( 4240135 ) on Monday March 19, 2018 @11:46PM (#56288941)

    Who are these people that search for "How do I transact?"

    I'm willing to bet not one person on God's green earth has EVER searched google for "How do I transact?"

    And if if Google can tell me how to transact, can they follow through and tell me how to transact my transactable transactions in the most self transactualizing transactivations of my transactionless office? I didn't think so!

  • Surely no human being actually said that. Would someone ever walk up to an employee in a store and ask: "Excuse me... how do I transact?"
    • by GoTeam ( 5042081 )
      I thought the same thing. The only thing that gave me pause is the thought that maybe in another English speaking country it is a common term. No idea...
  • Four weeks ago, I went to Zappo's and searched for work boots. Since then, nearly every ad-containing website I visit has been plastered with the same Zappo's ad -- for the same boots I looked at. This cannot be a coincidence. I resent having my online behavior followed so closely and used for Google's profit.

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