Google is launching a product peppered with plenty of fashion labels--but hardly a Google logo itself. Enter Boutiques.com, a search site for fashion, accessories, and eventually other kinds of "soft goods" that Google claims can't be assessed by the text descriptions and basic product comparisons that fuel its Product Search engine.
It comes primarily from Google's acquisition of the technology and product team behind Like.com, a visual search engine. Munjal Shah, co-founder and CEO of Like, helped to push Boutiques.com out the door based largely on technology that Like.com was already developing when Google began to view it as a potential acquisition target.
With "soft goods," Shah explained to CNET, discovery is as important as intentional search (if not more so); you'll buy a digital camera based on searches for the best technology and product specs, not to mention the fact that you probably figure you need a digital camera in the first place. You may very well buy a pair of skinny jeans based on how good they look in a tableau or lookbook setting.
Consequently, Boutiques.com lets both ordinary users as well as enlisted celebrities and "tastemakers" assemble "boutiques" of goods for purchase that can then be expanded based on algorithmic assessments of the fashion preferences in question. More basic product searches can be based on color and style, as well as patterns and other more subtle cues that the technology behind Boutiques.com can detect.
There's almost no Google branding whatsoever on the new site, something that the team behind it says may or may not change going forward. But more firmly-branded Google commerce products are getting upgrades, too. Earlier this week, Google unveiled updates to the main Product Search tool that account for physical store inventory.