Today Google announced a buy button, a mobile experiment that will allow consumers to purchase items directly from ads in Google search results using the payment information linked to their Google account.
In the next few weeks, a dozen or so U.S. merchants will roll out ads featuring buy buttons. The new feature, called Purchases on Google, will only be available in the U.S. for now.
The announcement came alongside a slew of other product launches, like conversational search for Google shopping and a card that will inform shoppers when a product’s price has dropped significantly.
The company also revealed further information about its soon-to-launch digital payment option Android Pay. Google said that consumers will be able to use Android Pay for both in-app purchases and in-store shopping.
Google’s buy button, combined with its Android Pay feature, could drive shopping on mobile by reducing the number of hoops that people have to jump through in order to buy something on their phone. Google’s new purchasing platform is also interesting because it comes at a time when a ton of major technology companies are investing in similar efforts. There’s PayPal, Apple Pay, and soon Samsung Pay. Where Google potentially has an edge is in search.
Because of its much-used search engine, Google can capture people who want to shop mobile search results directly. It’s a similar angle that Amazon has taken, using its platform to provide consumers with comparative reviews on a variety of products so they can make the best decision about what to buy. The question will be how many people will want to give yet another tech company their payment information.
For Android users who have already inputted their payment information to Google Play, this is a no-brainer. For iPhone and iPad users, especially those who already use Amazon for much of their digital shopping, it’s a less obvious decision.
That’s why Google is making a big digital push, beyond the buy button and Android Pay, to bridge the gap between physical stores and online retailers. And there’s a huge opportunity for them to do so. By the end of this year, digital devices will have influenced $2.2 trillion worth of U.S. retail sales, according to Deloitte.
Ultimately this new product development is about ads. By providing shopping through ads, Google is also giving advertisers one more reason to buy ads through its platform. What better metric is there than when the ads themselves are also sales?