The search for similar items in Google’s image search on the mobile Web and in the Android Search app announced Monday will tie in with product searches. The features serve up additional product images from various places to purchase the items.
The idea, for Google and advertisers, focuses on making products that consumers see in posts and in magazines more "shoppable." The tool helps consumers find similar items on mobile. Today it supports a small group of product types, but Google says it will expand this year.
A Google product manager who goes by the name of Julia E explains in a blog post how the company uses machine vision technology to find similar items. It identifies products in lifestyle images and displays matching products to the user. Similar items support handbags, sunglasses, and shoes and will cover other apparel, and home and garden categories in the next few months, she writes.
Making the products eligible to serve up as a similar item requires marketers to add and maintain schema.org product metadata on the brand's Web pages. The schema.org/Product markup helps Google find product offerings on the Web and give users a summary of product information.
Along with detailed instructions on how to use the feature, Google says it's important to ensure that the Web pages have an image reference number, products with names, image, price and currency, and metadata on the host page. These are eligible for the Similar items.