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Google Launches Commerce Search

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    MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA - JANUARY 5: Attendees wait for the beginning of the Google Nexus One Android smart phone unveiling at Google's headquarters January 5, 2010 in Mountain View, California. Google announced the Nexus One smart phone that was designed in a partnership with cell phone maker HTC. (Photo by Robert Galbraith-Pool/Getty Images)

    Google launched its new Commerce Search, a kind of Google Instant Search for online vendors, but is it all part of the search giant's plan to ready the marketplace for smartphone payments?

    "The announcement is not related to [near-field communications technology]," Jessica Kositz, a spokeswoman for Google, told Press: Here. Google spokesman Nate Tyler also confirmed that the search giant will neither comment nor confirm rumors of its NFC capability.

    Despite the denial, Google's rumored work on NFC technology, where smartphone owners simply wave or tap their phones to pay for merchandise, would make all kinds of commerce easier. It would also make the mobile space much more important for retailers -- by advertising and connecting with potential buyers.

    Nonetheless, the Google new Commerce Search uses familiar Google Instant technology for searching, shows how much product is available at a nearby store and will help shoppers see what others looked at and bought, according to the Official Google Blog. The search also allows retailers to create promotions alongside searches (for a fee of course.)

    Nitin Mangtani, Google's group product manager, said that the enterprise application gives retailers a way to feed data to both Google's products and then funnel it back to its own site with Google's tools such as product recommendations. "It's a rich technology for retailers," he told Press:Here. "It's a consumer-facing product."

    "We listen closely to consumers and retailers - including our newest retail partners L'Occitane, Forever 21 and GNC - and we innovate our products to provide the best tools that meet their needs, and solve current pain points," Kositz said. "Google . . . is focused on providing an engaging online shopping experience."

    I admit it's my first time hearing the phrase "pain point," which is supposed to mean something "unpleasurable about a product." Prices can be steep, about $25,000 for a single product, but for some sites it may be worth the price rather than develop and design an e-commerce campaign and infrastructure.

    Although there's been no announcement on NFC technology and Android handhelds, expect to see Google creating stronger e-commerce and mobile channels in the coming weeks if it's gearing up for a launch.