Google Upgrades Shopping Portal, Extends Lens Capability

Google has streamlined its Shopping desktop and mobile portals in anticipation of the holiday season and unveiled a fashion recommendation engine for Google Lens, its AI-enabled computer vision search tool. According to Google Shopping vice president Surojit Chatterjee, the redesign is aimed at making it easier for users to “research and buy” what they are looking for. A personalized homepage offers product suggestions, and new sections allow re-ordering. Also more prominent are links to “nearby and online” stores.

VentureBeat reports that “a new search filter lets you look specifically for items in stock at shops within driving distance.” Also on offer is a new price tracker that lets the user “chart the price of a product over time,” with an email alert when the price “drops below a certain threshold.”

Merchants can highlight images and products with a shopping cart icon that designates ones that can be bought directly on Google. Google also offers a purchase protection guarantee for orders up to $2,500 “that are delivered late or not received in the condition expected,” although “merchants have to pass a screening in order to qualify.”

Google Lens will begin to offer “outfit and apparel suggestions from around the web inspired by screenshots and photos,” said Lens product manager Kelly Schaefer. “See a winter coat that catches your eye in a store, but need some inspiration on how to rock it?” she asked. “Just open Lens and point your camera.”

Lens, which began as a feature on Pixel smartphones, “quickly spread to Google Photos and now ships onboard flagship smartphones from companies like Sony and LG.” Most recently, Google “brought Lens to iOS through the Google app and launched a redesigned experience across Android and iOS.”

Lens can now recognize “over 1 billion products from Google Shopping, including furniture, clothing, books, movies, music albums, and video games … in addition to landmarks, points of interest, notable buildings, Wi-Fi network names and passwords, flowers, pets, beverages, and celebrities.”

It can also “extract phone numbers, dates, and addresses from business cards and add them to your contacts list,” read words on signage and find “stylistically similar home décor.”