Thursday, June 29, 2006

Google Catalogs

Has your company signed up for Google Catalogs? Google Catalogs helps you make a scanned version of your paper catalog accessible to online users by scanning it and hosting it online for free. Google thinks it's "easily browseable and fully searchable, enabling users to quickly find your products."

While the browsing can be a bit difficult -- not every catalog looks good in a scanned version -- the searching is interesting. Using an intelligent search/query box, shoppers can find out which of the scanned catalogs carry the product(s) they are looking for.

You get access by clicking on "more>>" in the links above the Google search box, and selecting "Catalogs" (fourth one down on the left, under "Search"). Catalogs are categorized in the following buckets:
Apparel & Accessories, Computers, Home & Garden, Arts & Crafts, Consumer Electronics, Lifestyle & Gift, Arts & Entertainment, Education, Sports & Outdoors, Automotive, Food & Gourmet, Toys & Hobbies, Books/Music/Film, Health & Personal Care, Business To Business, and Home.

However . . . there is no way to place an order on Google Catalogs. If you find what you want, you can then click on the catalog Web site or call the phone number, both of which are displayed next to the scanned pages.

This would have been considered slick in 1997, but 10 years later, I'm curious to know if it is getting any action. Let me know your experience with Google Catalogs (kept in confidence, if you wish). Thanks.

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