Google launches tablet-optimized app for catalog viewing

Aug 17, 2011
Tech

Finally something for avid catalog consumers and rampant environmentalists to collectively cheer about: the launch of Google Catalogs. The free tablet-optimized app allows users to search interactive versions of shopping catalogs by retailers such as Urban Outfitters, Macy’s, William Sonoma, Saks Fifth Avenue, L.L. Bean, Anthropologie, Bare Escentuals and Sephora. The app is starting as […]

Finally something for avid catalog consumers and rampant environmentalists to collectively cheer about: the launch of Google Catalogs. The free tablet-optimized app allows users to search interactive versions of shopping catalogs by retailers such as Urban Outfitters, Macy’s, William Sonoma, Saks Fifth Avenue, L.L. Bean, Anthropologie, Bare Escentuals and Sephora.

The app is starting as an iPad-only release that allows users to “subscribe” to digital versions of print catalogs from dozens of retailers. Users are also able to search for products within the catalogs, save products for later, receive updates when new catalogs arrive, and create collages to share with friends and other app users. Videos such as cooking demonstrations in the William Sonoma catalog are also supported within the app. For those who want to do more than digitally browse, there’s also an option to purchase the products at the online store and search for nearby store locations.

The online powerhouse, which plans to eventually roll out the app for “all major tablet devices,” is not new to the catalog space, having introduced Google Catalog Search in 2001. That service, which allowed consumers to look through scanned versions of various print catalogs, was shut down in 2009 due to lack of consumer interest.

“Mobile technologies can make catalog shopping more engaging, social and creative,” said Kinnari Jhaveri, strategic partner development manager on Google’s commerce team, in a blog post regarding the launch.

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Hopefully, Google has learned its lessons from the earlier experiment and that the new app’s interactivity will prove successful, much to the delight of junk mail haters and environmental lovers.

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