Google brings Froogle to the frontline against MSN
Google has moved its shopping search engine Froogle on to its UK homepage, as MSN confirms its own intentions to launch a similar service.
Although still in beta format, Froogle is now a direct option from the Google UK homepage and edging closer to a full consumer launch, following its beta launch in October 2004.
The Froogle team says it has refined and enhanced the service ahead of its official launch. This includes increasing the number of merchants listed and making the site easier to use. Froogle UK now offers merchant ratings and product reviews to users.
Merchants can list products on Froogle UK by submitting a free data feed, through the Froogle Merchant Centre. Companies can not pay Froogle for placement in search results, but Google AdWords advertisers who want to feature ads in Froogle UK can do so through the Google network.
The news comes as MSN in the US has confirmed it is investigating the launch of a shopping search engine. The company's beta shopping site says it has introduced a new search engine for shopping searches and is asking for customer feedback.
MSN said shopping was one of a number of areas it could expand into following the full launch of its own algorithmic search engine last month. A spokesman was not available to talk about how these plans would affect the UK operation.
The new launches add to the squad of search comparison services available from rivals like Kelkoo, which is owned by Yahoo!, and Ask Jeeves, which was snapped up by IAC earlier this week for $1.85bn.
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