Google is wading into India's huge online shopping market

Google is making it easier for hundreds of millions of people in India to shop on its platform.The co...

Posted: Dec 13, 2018 12:10 PM
Updated: Dec 13, 2018 12:10 PM

Google is making it easier for hundreds of millions of people in India to shop on its platform.

The company launched Google Shopping in the country on Thursday, allowing users to search for products in English and Hindi — India's most popular language — and compare deals from retailers.

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The service can be accessed via a new shopping tab within Google Search and through Google Lens, an image recognition app which allows users to photograph products to find out more about them.

India is also the first country in the world to get a separate shopping homepage on Google, a company spokesperson said.

The launch of the shopping feature, which is already available in more than 35 countries, is another example of Google's efforts to cash in on the rapid growth in the number of Indian internet users.

"More than 40 million Indians are coming online every year, and search is an integral part of their online journey," Surojit Chatterjee, Google's vice president for product management, said in a statement.

"From seasoned desktop shoppers to first-time users with entry-level smartphones, we hope this new shopping experience will make finding what people are looking for just a little bit easier," he added.

Google is also dipping its toe into an industry currently dominated by Amazon (AMZN) and Walmart (WMT), which have both poured billions into India. Walmart subsidiary Flipkart controls an estimated 40% of India's e-commerce market, while Amazon accounts for about 32%.

Morgan Stanley has estimated that the market will be worth $200 billion by 2026.

Google will aggregate offers from Amazon and Flipkart as well as other retailers without selling any products itself, a company spokesperson told CNN Business. That's similar to the way Google Flights works.

The Silicon Valley giant is also going one step further to grab more Indian eyeballs. Its Merchant Center, where retailers upload details of their products, will be made available in Hindi — the first time a language other than English has been offered.

Google Shopping has run into some trouble in Europe. Regulators last year slapped the company with a $2.7 billion fine, ruling that it denied consumers "a genuine choice" by using its search engine to steer users toward its shopping platform.

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