Google's Search As You Type Tool Goes Retail

Google began offering its Google Commerce Search product, Search As You Type, as a free, stand-alone feature. The service for retailers who are also AdWords advertisers supports for free up to 25 million searches per year on their Web site. Lowe's and Hasbro are two partners that are participating in the initial launch.

Offering convenience and cost savings, 31% of shoppers with children in K-12 said they will do more comparative shopping online, up from 30% last year, according to the National Retail Federation. Some 17% said they would shop online more, up from 15% last year and 12% the year prior.

While most consumers make online purchases via desktop computers, analyst firm Needham & Co. estimates U.S mobile commerce spending will reach $36 billion by 2015.

Similar to an auto-complete tool or predictive suggestions, the Search As You Type package for retailers customizes the search for products on the Web site, runs on Google's cloud servers and says it helps lift conversion rates and sales.

The tool returns a list of products and prices as site visitors enter characters in a search box. For example, begin to type "red" in the description of "red shoes" and the search query will not only provide a list of products, but photos and prices, too.

The Search As You Type pilot is one of Google's tool investments for retailers. During the coming months, the company plans to expand the pilot to include more online retailers.

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