Search giant Google has decided to terminate its Commerce Search service after almost four years, bringing to an end the availability of a platform which was specifically designed to be used by those webmasters looking to operate an e-commerce site.
Google first revealed its intentions to create Commerce Search in 2009 and by the middle of 2010, it had already rolled out the second full version to its clients, adding in extra features and streamlining the user experience.
2011 saw Commerce Search receive yet another incremental update, but now in 2013, it seems that Google has chosen to unceremoniously axe this platform.
While those e-commerce sites which are still using Commerce Search will retain access to the platform, a Google spokesperson told TechCrunch, that the company is looking to help such customers’ transition over to an alternative approach in the coming months.
In a statement, it was made clear that Google wants to allow e-commerce sites to adopt search tools that are more flexible and less convoluted.
The use of the Search As You Type widget was suggested as a viable replacement for Commerce Search, since it is not such a rigid service and allows for a user experience that does not rely entirely on a centralised search platform.
Although Commerce Search has now been retired by Google, the decision to kill it off seems to have come relatively swiftly.
TechCrunch points out that Google was still promoting the platform in a big way as recently as the summer of 2012, indicating that the fall from grace for Commerce Search was not exactly gradual. It was at this time that Google Mini got the boot after seven years in the spotlight, so it seemed that Commerce Search was becoming a bigger player in the wake of its exit.
Some e-commerce site owners will look back on Commerce Search with fondness, since it offered plenty of useful features to help shape the way that visitors encountered particular products and services.
As well as offering sites the ability to influence ranking and sort results based on individual requirements, the search tool was also a good way to publicise specific promotional events.
Site search remains an important part of the overall online shopping experience and it is vital to achieve a good level of competency and functionality in this arena of e-commerce web design.
The availability of third party platforms makes it easier for smaller sites to adopt comprehensive search solutions without being overburdened by the complexity of organising it internally.
This also means that Google would be foolish to completely abandon the site search market altogether. As such, it is intending to refocus its strategies and build up contemporary solutions to fill the gap left by Commerce Search.
Hopefully, sites which had relied upon this tool will be able to migrate to a parallel platform with relative ease, while those that have yet to adopt a thorough site search tool can cast their nets wide this year.