Google is launching a new advertising program called Shop the Look that will let you search for specific outfits and receive photos and purchase links right from the results page. The company is starting out by partnering with sites like Polyvore and LiketoKnow.it, which are Pinterest-like networks that help fashion bloggers make money off social media posts. That way, Google is able to pull in photos and affiliate links when people search for items like "summer dress." The program is part of Google’s overall shopping ad product, so down the line big-name retailers may be able to sell clothes using the tool as well.
Shop the Look is part of the company’s ongoing efforts to make its search engine more powerful and useful, in hopes users won’t spend their time in mobile apps instead. Because as more users access the internet via smartphones running apps, Google’s influence has been diluted alongside the mobile web’s. Why go fire up Google Chrome when you follow your favorite designers or clothing brands on Instagram, or have a curated list of popular Pinterest boards to choose from?
Google wants more smartphone owners using the mobile web instead of apps
So by baking more features into search, Google is urging people to use its engine for as many different tasks as possible. (And with every search, Google makes money by serving ads.) We’ve seen this more prominently in the past year with Google’s search changes around the 2016 election that surface candidate’s positions on hot button topics and delegate counts during the primaries. Just in the past few months, Google has outfitted search with solitaire and tic-tac-toe games and a symptom search system for self-diagnosis. Each new feature is a subtle nudge to keep using Google search for all your wants and needs.