If you search for something on Google, does that mean you want to buy it? Maybe. At least that appearsÂ to be the idea behind buy buttons, a new feature the Wall Street JournalÂ saysÂ will start rolling out in the next few weeks.
According to the report,Â Google will display buy buttons only on mobile devices and when users search for products. They will be part of sponsored (paid) search results within aÂ â€œShop on Googleâ€ page.Â Buttons will notÂ appear on non-sponsored results generated fromÂ Googleâ€™s basic search algorithm.
Clicking on aÂ buy button takes users to another Google product page where the transaction â€” including sizes, colors, shipping options and more â€” will be completed. Products will be sold by their original retailers, and stores like Macyâ€™s are said to be in talks with Google concerning the launch.
This controversial move marks a profound shift in strategy for Google, establishing it as a retailer rather than simply a provider of link information driving users to retail sites. And not everyone is applauding. Some retailers have privately expressed concernÂ that they will lose their online identity and be subsumed into the Google brand.
Under the program, Google would continue to allow buyers access to retailersâ€™ marketing programs on an opt-in basis and let retailers collect information on customers, while product pages would be heavily branded. However, GoogleÂ will saveÂ all customer payment informationÂ beforeÂ passing on the retailerâ€™sÂ cut.
Google will continue toÂ be paid by retailers viaÂ its existing advertising model, rather than taking a cut of the sales price, unlike Amazon or eBay.
This initiative by Google is precipitated byÂ the uptickÂ in smartphone usage. Searches on mobile devices nowÂ outnumber those on personal computers in 10 countries, including the U.S. and Japan, according to Googleâ€™sÂ research.
âž¤Â Can Google Outsell Amazon and eBay?Â [Wall Street Journal]