Google Upgrades Travel And Retail Searches

According to emerging reports, Google is moving to make it easier for retailers and travel firms to promote themselves using better connection of search results to appropriate advertisements through its Shopping Showcase format.

Shopping Showcase ads look for broader search terms – “children’s shoes,” “home design” – where users are more likely to want to see a variety of items as opposed to one specific unit.

Google is giving more tools to retail and travel businesses hoping to promote themselves through search results and ads. The feature also allows merchants to create tailored galleries of related products.

The search ad upgrade comes with some tweaks to the ad platform on YouTube. The direct buy option will still remain – but advertisers are now also able to enhance that offering with a banner ad beneath the video to highlight other products.  The upgrade comes with a “picker” tool which will allow merchants to chose what products will be specially featured in an add (as opposed to Google’s automatic choices.)

Google will also be testing cross-border searches and purchases – including tools that will make it easier for international shoppers to see real-time currency rate conversions.

The travel upgrade will include “smart filters,” which will allow users to set up general criteria around pricing or user ratings – as well as supporting more complex individual searches. “Hotels with laundry services for less than $135 per night” for example, is the type of multi-layer question travel has been tweaked to answer.

Google has also announced its plan to add  “Deal” labels to help users see particularly good prices on hotels. New travel upgrades also include the ability to set Google to track certain flights and send alerts when price has fallen rapidly and offer tips to customers about how they can secure better deals by making changes to their travel plans.

The point of all of this: powering the additional shift to mobile – and making sure that customers on any device anywhere have a reason to come home to Google.

“Mobile has really become the new normal in shopping and travel,” said Jonathan Alferness, Google’s vice president of shopping and travel products. He said these new features will likely become available on Google’s desktop and laptop interfaces, but he described them as “certainly mobile-first products.”