Google Area 120 Releases Shoploop, Shopping App Alternative To Instagram, TikTok

Google's experimental Area 120 division introduced a video shopping platform Thursday for mobile that highlights products by creators and brands in clips of 90 seconds or less.

The short clips appear to be similar to those found on Instagram or TikTok.

All are product videos. Most focus on makeup and skincare, but Shoploop plans to expand to different product types such as electronics,  clothing, and jewelry.

The videos demonstrate to viewers how to use the products, and Google's technology allows them to shop online from the app.

Tabs separate product categories. Viewers can like, share and save videos. Individual video creators have a profile page where viewers can follow them to keep up with the product information they share.

"Last year, I was on the New York City subway conducting user research for Touring Bird, a project I was working on with Area 120, Google’s in-house lab for experimental projects," wrote Lax Poojary, GM at Shoploop. "One of the young commuters standing next to me was silently scrolling on her device, switching between a social media app, YouTube and an online shop."

When Poojary asked the woman what she was doing, it turned out that she had seen somebody promote a makeup product on social media and wanted to check it out. So she watched reviews on YouTube to see how it would look in real life and whether other people liked it. Then she looked it up on an ecommerce site to buy it. This involved three different apps or websites.

Poojary wanted to build one that would do all three functions. Google is now promoting the app as "a platform with short-form and live, interactive videos that helps people discover new products and shop."

There is a waitlist to join as a Shoploop creator. Those interested must fill out a questioner and be at least 18 years of age. 

Current contributors include some big brands and retailers such as Allure and Sabbatical Beauty.

Perhaps stay-at-home orders and store closures helped Google's Area 120 to come up with the app.

The idea for the app is to help people experience the look and feel of products they are shopping for without going to a physical store. Shoploop helps brands get product reviews from real people who know and use the products.

For example, Alex shows live product use in her video to get rid of pimples, and Kim includes practical tips and advice on how to use a face roller in her video.

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