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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Saturday, December 28, 2002

Google launches site for best deals

The Washington Post

Shoppers, turn on your home computers! You have a new Internet tool: Froogle, launched recently as part of the Google search service.

Froogle (froogle.google.com) offers a price-minded glimpse of Google's vast Web index. Browse by category — apparel, computers, flowers, whatever — or enter a query term, and it will present a list of matching products, each with a thumbnail image on the left and description, price and retailer on the right.

"This was in response to users who told us they wanted a better way to search for products," said Google spokeswoman Eileen Rodriguez.

Rodriguez said Froogle differs from other comparison-shopping sites by being more product-focused and not letting merchants pay for favorable placement. Ads appear only in the right-side margin of a page, in the same text-only style as the ads on Google's regular search pages.

Froogle's product index is created in two ways. Google's software "spider" identifies product pages at online stores as it crawls the Web. Froogle invites merchants to upload their product lists directly. It then uses the same mathematical formula to rank product pages that it uses to determine the relevance of the 3 billion Web pages in Google's general index.

While Froogle lets people narrow search results by price or category, it presents no editorial reviews of products or merchants. Nor does it display taxes and shipping fees — features offered by top comparison-shopping services such as DealTime, BizRate and MySimon — let alone rank results by lowest price.

Rodriguez said Froogle is in early testing stages and will gain more features later.