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Google Adding ‘Buy’ Button to Search Results

May 18, 2015
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Google is going to start adding “buy” buttons to search results in the next few weeks, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

The buttons will accompany sponsored results — that is, paid ads — not search results from Google’s basic search function. And they will appear, at least at first, only on mobile searches, the Journal reported, citing “people familiar with the launch.”

Clicking the button will take users to another page where they can make selections like size and color and place their order, the sources said.

The program, which will start with just a small percentage of search results, will be in partnership with retailers like Macy’s, which the Journal reported is in talks with Google.

If expanded, it would mark a major move by Google to compete directly with online retail players like Amazon and eBay. The Journal report says that, at least initially, Google will still rely on the ads to make money and not take a cut of the sales, which will go to the third-party retailers.

Users will enter payment information, like a credit card number, one time, then Google will save it for the customer’s future use.

According to the sources, Google is targeting mobile with the program in part because of its steep increase in usage across the globe. Searches on mobile now outnumber searches on desktop computers in 10 countries, including the United States.

But negotiating a retailer’s website on a smartphone can sometimes be a clunky experience. Google, the sources say, wants the buy button to simplify the process, creating an experience more similar to using a mobile app like those from Amazon and eBay.

Doug Gross is a staff writer covering personal finance for NerdWallet. Follow him on Twitter @doug_gross and on Google+.

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