Google appears to be leveraging YouTube to coax people into purchasing stuff via its own Google Express service. The company is tucking links under YouTube videos for recommended products, with prices to boot, according to The Information.
Some of the products have popped up under Nike videos, for example. Clicking on them would take the viewer to the Google Express marketplace to buy whatever is featured.
The Information notes that more and more people are hopping onboard Google's shopping platform. Earlier this year, Google began testing shoppable ads in image searches. The company is said to be experimenting with these options to boost its shopping business.
Google Express To Take On Amazon?
It's difficult to imagine that Google would rise to the level of Amazon in this space, currently the leader in e-commerce. But as more retailers join, it has an opportunity to take on the retailer, but it doesn't take a genius to see how tall of an order that is. Google takes a cut from goods sold through Express, but as Engadget notes, its revenue pales next to Amazon's retail income.
Express raked in an estimated $1 billion in 2018. By contrast, Amazon's retail arm pulled in $141 billion in revenue, and just in North America, at that, last year. Whether Google has plans to try and topple Amazon from its reign is hard to determine at the moment. But the company is set to hold an event later this month called Google Marketing Live, and the I/O developer conference takes place next week, so there might be more information about YouTube product links by then.
It's Happened Before
It's worth noting that YouTube has attempted similar things previously. For instance, it allowed creators to add links to merchandise below their videos last year, which means this new move doesn't come unprecedented.
In any case, it appears to be an attempt to boost the company's bottom line and find new revenue streams. But Google has to be careful in this arena. In 2017, European antitrust authorities ordered it to pay a fine of $2.7 billion for favoring its products when people search on Google. This, along with Amazon's tight dominance in the e-commerce field, seems to guarantee Google's attempts to boost Express will end up being underwhelming. Still, everyone deserves a shot at the top.
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