Google’s site for comparison shopping is closing its (virtual) doors.
Google’s parent company, Alphabet Inc., announced in an email to partners on Monday (Feb. 22) that Google Compare — which allowed online shoppers in the U.S. and U.K. to evaluate offers from auto insurers, mortgage lenders and credit card issuers — will be slowing down its operation before shuttering completely on March 23, reports The Wall Street Journal.
A portion of the email shared by WSJ reads that “the Google Compare service itself hasn’t driven the success we hoped for” and that Google will focus “more intently on AdWords and future innovations” in order to provide “the best return on investment” for its financial services partners.
The outlet observes that, while Google has found success with similar comparison shopping services that dealt in eCommerce and air travel, the many regulations — which vary from state to state — and requirements for a comparatively larger amount of consumer information that are associated with auto insurance made facilitating comparison shopping in that area more onerous.
“Insurance is very complicated. It’s not like selling a flight or shoes online,” Joshua Dziabiak, cofounder of insurance shopping site The Zebra, commented to WSJ.
An additional obstacle for Google Compare, the report shares, was the likelihood (as Forrester Research analysts predicted) that the service — in that it allowed consumers to purchase policies and mortgages directly on the site — could make some competing companies in the applicable spaces disinclined to advertise on Google.
Keith Moore, head of online insurance agency CoverHound Inc. (which, WSJ notes, worked with Google on Compare), told the outlet that he believes that the site will not be closed permanently and that Compare will be relaunched in perhaps an updated format.
As WSJ points out, Compare was not Google’s first foray into comparison shopping. In 2011, the company operated a similar site called Google Advisor, which helped online consumers compare financial services products, but shut it down within less than a year.