Google is stirring up the e-commerce industry with the "imminent" introduction of a "Buy" button that will appear next to certain search results.
Google chief business officer Omid Kordestani himself confirmed the arrival of the feature in the near future during an interview with Kara Swisher at this year's Re/code Code Conference on Wednesday.
"There's going to be a buy button," he said. "It's going to be imminent.
Kordestani said that the inclusion of a Buy button will help encourage more users to buy more products online. He said that despite the massive e-commerce empire of the likes of Amazon, eBay and Alibaba, only 10 percent of all commercial transactions take place online. However, no details were shared as to when users can specifically expect to see the Buy now button on their Google searches.
News of a Buy button appearing on Google's search results pages first surfaced two weeks ago, raising fears that Google could take advantage of its dominance to take over the e-commerce industry.
The Wall Street Journal cited people familiar with the matter who say that the button will appear initially on mobile, where the vast majority of searches are being made. Users will only see the Buy button next to paid advertisements, which appear on top of the organic search results determined by Google's search algorithm, under the heading "Shop on Google."
Clicking on the button will take users to a Google Shopping website, where they will find more information about the product and complete the transaction as they would on a regular e-commerce website. However, Google itself will not be selling anything. It will be partnering with retailers, which will fulfill the orders and take care of shipping, while Google keeps payment information away from retailers. One of them rumored to be working with Google is Macy's.
The arrangement is expected to be met with some animosity, especially since it would turn retailers into back-end order takers while Google takes the valuable information from their customers, the kind of information that Google has built its billion dollar Internet empire on. To appease retailers, Google has reportedly agreed to hand over information essential for retailer marketing, such as email addresses and mailing addresses, if the customers consent to it.
Google will not make any money directly from the transactions. Instead, retailers will pay Google to have their advertisements listed on the top of the search results. However, it appears Google's goal is not to make money from selling retail items but from selling ad space for retailers who want to make it easier for their customers to buy their goods.
Photo: Ray Bouknight | Flickr