Hybrid Shopping Engines
Currently both Google and Microsoft offer what seems to be a hybrid of the shopping comparison engines. They are considered hybrids for two reasons:
- They are free. These search engines do not charge a fee for setting up your feed or for any clicks that are incurred from products listed in the feed.
- Feeds are not just strictly for retail products. Both Google and Microsoft take more than just retail products in their feeds. Website owners can list all different types of content, services, and even cars and personals which are accepted in the feeds for these search engines.
Not Just for Shopping Anymore!
With the advent of Universal Search, Google is looking for all different types of content to present in the search engine results for searches on keywords. From videos to recipes, web pages and retail products are not the only things showing up in the results on Google anymore. Google uses its Product Search section to help get a handle on different types of content that is available, beyond retail products.
Once known as Google's Froogle product, when it was first launched it only accepted retail products. Google then introduced Google Base, which allowed website owners to give Google information on all sorts of other type of content including, but not limited to, real estate listings, automobiles, jobs, personals, recipes, news, blog feeds, and even images and videos. Google uses this information to help populate search results with relevant and fresh information.
Microsoft's Live Product is very similar to Google's product search in that it takes more than just retail products and that it is free. Microsoft even allows you to upload the feed you created for Google to your Microsoft Product Live account. There is a possibility you could run into some small issues with illegal characters that return errors, as Microsoft does not seem to be as forgiving as Google is with its feed specifications.