Last week Google released a new extension that can be installed on Google Chrome called the Google Related Extension. What this toolbar does is hide in the bottom of your browser, then pop up whenever you are on a site that it thinks related information would be helpful for.
If you are on a product and there is a video it pops up, if you are on another product and there are a lot of other retailers, it will show you the lowest price and it also shows reviews and map information for restaurants. All of this is designed to provide a better user experience for people browsing the Internet. I turned it on, and it has some cool features, however as a retailer I am not sure what I think about it.
First, as with anything Google related it has to have good adoption before it can be taken seriously. Whether it is Wave or Sidewiki, without adoption and users it can be gone tomorrow. What sets Google Related apart is that it can be built into the next version of the Google Chrome browser if Google thinks that it is relevant enough, and in that it will gain adoption from users of this browser. While the Chrome browser still has a smaller market share it continues to gain traction. If users do start to use this though it can change the way people browse sites, as all of the unrelated information is located in one place and they no longer have to search it out. They no longer have to leave to see a video or review, which can help the purchase decision, as they have it at the bottom of their browser.
Second, if people start to use Google Related then it can create a whole new game for online retailers, as well as other websites. While it is becoming increasingly more difficult to rank in organic Google search, this related extension can make it harder to capture traffic by giving visitors information that can potentially take them off your site. I am not saying that it’s not OK for customers to shop around and find the best deal, I do that myself, but the online funnel process hardly needs more distractions in this world of social media. Google related has the ability to send visits to competitors but also to send their visitors to you. This is a double edge sword that can lead competitors to fight over who has the cheapest prices by the cent, much like gas stations on the same street. While this isn’t bad it can create a new ground to compete on if the users present themselves.
Lastly, there are many good things it can offer, for the SEO it can help you to see what Google thinks is related content to the page you are on, which can help with link building and other tasks. For the sales manager it can show you products or categories where your company is significantly losing the price war, allowing you to try to be more competitive on this front. Also, for the public relations manager it can show you reviews and what others are saying about your site. Lastly, for the customer it can provide them better information to make the purchase decisions.
All things considered, the related extension is a step in the right direction for the average computer user. For the retailer it has both good and bad implications, but before we let it change the way we market we have to see if people even use it.
What about you, what do you think about the Google Related Extension? Let us know in the comments.