RIP to the Google Shopping app. XDA spotted a closing message hidden in the app on Thursday and on Friday night Google confirmed to 9to5Google that the Shopping app was on the way out. Here is the company’s statement:
In the coming weeks, we will no longer support the Shopping app. All the features offered to users by the app are available in the Shopping tab. We will continue to build features in the Shopping tab and other Google surfaces, including the Google app, that make it easy for people to find and buy the products they love.
The Google Shopping app launched just 19 months ago, when it took over from another Google shopping halt, Google Express. The Google Shopping service has been a rough proposition for users – as of 2012, it has been nothing more than an advertising vehicle that exclusively showed “paid listings” and no organic results. This made sense as a service that showed ads in small boxes embedded in Google.com search results, but it was unclear why a user would download an app that exclusively displays ads.
In April 2020, Google Shopping waived the “Paid Ads Only” policy and began listing everyone who signed up for “Google Merchant Center”. Merchant Center allows retailers to generate and send a product data feed to Google, which is used for search results. This means that Google Shopping is still not a spider-focused search engine like Google search is. Google Search does its best to find, catalog and index the world’s data, while Google Shopping does not do its best to index the web; it only cares about companies that send it data feeds. This can lead to woefully inadequate listings for certain searches, especially for businesses that Google doesn’t like. For example, a search on “Amazon Echo” will never list an Amazon.com result in the Shopping search results (Amazon is however invited to buy an ad).
Google’s statement says that the main interface for Google Shopping will now be the Shopping tab on Google.com, which, again, is a bit strange for a product that is not an indexed organic search result. But Google Shopping has always been a strange product since Froogle’s death.