Google Unveils Tool to Map Shopping Trips

Google is unveiling a new tool today on its Froogle site, which will display a map of all merchants in a ZIP code selling a given product as well as listing the prices.

Google Unveils Tool to Map Shopping Trips (AP)

Joining the herd of Web sites jostling to cash in on the holiday shopping season, online search engine leader Google Inc. is adding a tool designed to make it easier for consumers to map out their local trips to the mall. The feature, to be unveiled Tuesday at Google’s Froogle shopping site, will pinpoint the merchants selling a specific item within a designated ZIP code. Besides displaying a map showing all the local stores carrying the merchandise, Froogle also will list price differences.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based company developed the free tool to help consumers avoid the frustration of traveling to a store that no longer has an item on their shopping lists, said Marissa Mayer, Google’s director of consumer products.

Froogle, a comparison shopping site that Google launched three years ago, will continue to give visitors the option to buy the merchandise online. Google receives a commission for the online referrals.

This is a very interesting idea, although it’s unclear how Froogle would know whether the store had sold out of the product in question or whether the prices had changed since the last scan. For online merchandise, updating would presumably be comparatively easy; how it would work for a brick and mortar operation, I can’t fathom.

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James Joyner
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James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.