Internet search giant Google Inc.'s Japanese unit today launched Google Shopping in Japan, an online search service that gives information on prices, availability and nearest store locations of consumer products.
The move comes after the Mountain View, California-based company this week launched a ''flight'' search tool in the US, its first travel product after it acquired ITA Software for $700 million this year.
Google Japan's product manager, Kosuke Suzuki said in blog post, ''The online shopping market is growing at double-digit growth over each year, has been used a lot more casual, while shopping for more than 97 per cent are done in stores. I hope you have many opportunities every day to a shopping mall and large chain stores, etc. near you too."
Apart from personal computers and tablet PC's, Google Local Shopping is also available on the iPhone and Android-based smartphones, where users can find out the nearest store on the map, product information, prices, address and phone numbers of the nearest store.
For example, if someone has to buy a bulb, Google Shopping will help the search with a "Shop around" icon shown at the top of search results "in your area," which is set to search based on location.
At the "shop around," one can click for the nearest store's inventory and prices on the map along with the product page, which lists information such as opening hours. In addition, a balloon is displayed when you click on a map store.
Google Japan plans to sign around 100 companies by the end of 2012.
It has already signed seven large retail giants, including Tokyu Store Nishitetsu Riteruzu Hankyu (book first), Matsumotokiyoshi, Yodobashi Camera, Ryohin Keikaku (MUJI), Lawson HMV Entertainment, all of whom will send production information to Google daily, Lawson's stores will also sign up later, said Suzuki.