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Google is trying to turn Image Search into a shopping tool

Google wants to help you find a purse to match that dress.

Shopping suggestions in Google Image Search
Shopping suggestions in Google Image Search
Screenshot / Google

Google has added a new shopping feature in Image Search called “style ideas” that shows users perusing fashion merchandise what specific items look like paired with others.

A preview of the feature, launching in mobile search, demonstrates a search for a purse from Zara. Below the carousel of products similar to the purse is a grid of photos of various models pairing the purse with a jean jacket, gray suede boots and a pastel pink hijab.

The new feature is clearly aimed at getting people looking at products to think of Google as a place to start shopping searches — and to use it instead of shopping portals like Amazon or eBay.

Despite its general preeminence in search, Google lags behind Amazon when it comes to product search, and the trend is getting worse for Google.

Some 55 percent of U.S. online shoppers start their search for items on Amazon, according to a survey last year by e-commerce startup BloomReach. That’s up from 44 percent when the startup did the same survey a year prior. And in that time, the percentage of shoppers who started product searches on search engines like Google fell from 34 percent to 28 percent. (Another recent survey found similar results.)

It’s not just Amazon this feature seems aimed at, but also Pinterest, which offers a tool in its Chrome extension similar to Google’s new style ideas feature.

Pinterest’s Chrome extension, which lets users save images they see online to Pinterest without having to return to the site, also lets users select an item and ask Pinterest to surface similar ones based on Pinterest’s image recognition software.

This article originally appeared on

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