Google iCatalogs…err Just Catalogs

18 Aug

Google debuts an iPad app, Google Catalogs, for customers to shop 50 catalogs from retailers including Crate & Barrel, L.L. Bean, Patagonia and Williams-Sonoma. Retailers can, for now, add their catalogs for free.

Shoppers can flip through the pages with the swipe of a finger on the tablet screen. Small price tags appear on product images; touching a price tag opens up a window with products details. On the details screen are two buttons: Buy on Website and Find Nearby.

Touching Buy opens up the product page on the e-commerce site of the retailer without leaving the app and customers can buy the product. For now, Google does not charge retailers to be included in the app, nor does it take a cut of sales generated by the app. There is also a “Find Nearby” ability which will  displays a map with a listing of the retailer’s nearby stores based on the tablet’s GPS capability.

 “For years, shoppers have enjoyed flipping through glossy print catalogs to be inspired, discover new trends and find great products,” writes Kinnari Jhaveri, strategic partner development manager for the Google commerce team, in a Google blog post. “Today, mobile technologies can make catalog shopping more engaging, social and creative. Google Catalogs enables you to browse all of your favorite catalogs and interact with new layers of rich-media content.”

Google created the popular Android mobile operating system for smartphones and tablets yet opted to launch Google Catalogs for competitor Apple Inc.’s iOS mobile operating system, which runs the iPad, along with the iPhone and iPod Touch.

“We develop mobile applications for a variety of platforms, including iOS, Android, BlackBerry, and Nokia,” the spokeswoman says. “As with all of our mobile products, we try to make them available on as many devices as possible. Development of the Google Catalogs app for Android is already in the works and will be available in the coming months.”

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