This week marked the end of Froogle, Google’s odd brand for their product and shopping search engine. The service is being re-branded as Google Product Search, and a revised user interface has been released to reinforce the new brand.
Google introduced their product and shopping search engine back in Dec 2002 and its playful brand was born from the union of Frugal and Google – hence Froogle.
Since inception, Froogle has progressively taken a back seat to other services such as Google Maps, Video Search and Image Search as lack of adoption and usage eventually led to its removal from the Google homepage in 2006.
Marissa Mayer, VP of Search and User Experience, summed up the changes on the Official Google Blog:
“Today, we’re making some changes to how we help users find things to buy. You may be familiar with our product Froogle (a pun on “frugal”). Froogle offers a lot of great functionality and has helped many users find things to buy over the years, but the name caused confusion for some because it doesn’t clearly describe what the product does. “
Google has used the re-branding exercise to release a re-vamped user interface. The search refinement options have been shifted to below the search results and Google Checkout has been integrated into the service. With the ability to filter results to Google Checkout only merchants, this is a clever way to encourage businesses to adopt Google’s payment system.
I believe a product and shopping search “renaissance” will occur over the next 12 months, but the questions remains, will the makeover bring the product search traffic and usage that Froogle failed to generate. With a little help from core search integration…I’m betting it will.