Could this be the first step in moving all magazines to digital tablet-format? Google released a free iPad app called Google Catalogs, which allows users to window shop familiar glossy print publications that were previously exclusive to print magazines, such as Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn, Crate and Barrel, L.L. Bean, and others.
“We asked how do we create the inspirational browse-shopping experience, and we thought about whether it makes sense on the Web, but the platform that it is most poised for is the tablet,” says Google Catalogs product manager Abigail Holtz.
Google Catalogs offers access to dozens of catalogs across a variety of categories, including women’s fashion, men’s fashion, beauty, home, jewelry, kids, and gifts. Since the pages are digital, users can zoom in, tap on images to research and find pricing for items, and even search for the product in nearby stores. Google’s solution also saves paper and distribution costs for hundreds of weekly and monthly catalogs.
“It adds a richness to the shopping experience that is really engaging for consumers,” Holtz says. “As I’m flipping through, it’s different from a catalog. You can go deeper.”
Unlike other catalog apps like Padopolis and TheFind, Google has no plans to start charging retailers affiliate fees for purchases made on the app. Hotz said there’s a chance to monetize the app in other ways, but refused to be more specific.
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