Google Product Search is rolling out three new features today, a new shopping “OneBox” that features popular products in certain categories of searches, a summary of product reviews and a “gallery” view option of products.
Popular Products OneBox
In the “normal” shopping OneBox, Google lists a variety of products along with an estimated price and number of stories it sees the product sold as, as you can see in the example for “digital cameras” below:
That search shows five different camera models. A new experimental box is being tested where fewer products are listed, such as for “rock climbing shoes” below, which shows only two types of shoes and then has links to popular brands:
Google told me that for some queries, they think it’s more helpful to show feature products, focusing on the ones it has determined algorithmically to be popular.
Google Product Search has offered reviews culled from around the web on various products for some time, such as you’ll see here for a Nike D90 camera. In fact, that page list nearly 260 reviews. No time to read through these all? That’s where the new review section comes in:
There’s a bar chart that shows you how many reviews overall were of 1 start, 2 stars, 3 stars and so on. Personally, I found it a little confusing, as it seemed more a dividing line rather than a chart to me, at first.
Below the bar chart are small review quotes that Google’s algorithm has determined are particularly relevant. If you hover over a quote, you can then click to read the actual review.
While the reviews themselves aren’t a new feature, I was a bit surprised at how much material Google uses from them (nearly 250 word for one). Google said that sites where it pulls reviews from are free to opt-out, that they don’t use the entire content, link to the originating source and overall haven’t found site owners raising issues, as they receive a lot of traffic from Google.
In another change, some searches will default to a new “Gallery” view that features large pictures of products, such as show below for rings:
Previously, this was called “grid view” and can be enabled by clicking on the icon indicated in the screenshot above, if it doesn’t load automatically for you. But Google says the larger images should show by default for queries on clothing and accessories for now, where it thinks the close-up views are more helpful.