Google wants to be a retailer's best friend, not their landlord.
In a recent interview with AllThingsD, Google’s VP of Shopping Sameer Samat said that the company has no plans to become a retailer like Amazon despite how things look on Google Shopping and Google Play. Being a retailer at this point would not be the right decision, he said.
Speculation about becoming a full-fledged online retailer began to emerge after Google acquired shopping locker service BufferBox in late November. The Waterloo, Ontario-based start-up provides users with temporary lockers in central locations that accept packages from online merchants. Once a package arrives, the user receives an email containing a one-time-use code. Once the package is acquired, the locker is used for another customer.
Why anyone would think Google was going full-blown retail based on this acquisition is anyone's guess. According to AllThingsD, "some" have wondered if Google is currently building an infrastructure to fully move into the retail space. Updates to Google Shopping's visual presentation don't help alleviate the speculation, as the report points out.
"A deeper dive into the Shopping experience reveals that some of the product pages have a blue button in the top right-hand corner that could easily be mistaken for Amazon’s 'Add to Cart' yellow button," AllThingsD reports.
But Samat said that the BufferBox acquisition had nothing to do with becoming an Amazon competitor. Instead, the move was about helping other retailers become more competitive. Indeed, Google now has a way for its listed retailers to offer products to consumers who may not have a set or secure location to receive packages.
"We are trying to provide a level playing field for retailers," he said.
Samat also joked about receiving "The Least Popular Dude" award for the complete overhaul made to Google Shopping over the summer. The new system forces retailers to pay a fee for making sure their products appear within Google Shopping. Previously merchants could upload their data feed for free, but for this holiday season, this will be the first time they've had to pay to participate.
Thus, rather than becoming an actual retailer, Google merely wants to be a retailer's best friend while selling its own hardware on the side. Call it a refined search engine for merchants that makes it easy for consumers to search for a product served up all across the internet rather than within a refined network.
To read the full interview, head here.