Unofficially obsessed with Google.


Froogle Local Finds No Socks in NYC

4/10/2006 06:45:00 PM
So I'm in New York City.
And I need some socks.

To find some, I type the query in Froogle Local:

Searching Froogle / Google Local for socks in NYC

Sorting results by distance and glancing at the map, I can see what's available. Hm, one result for New York City socks. That's one lonely pair of socks for almost 8 million inhabitants of New York City (I've circled just Manhattan below).

Froogle / Google Local NYC

Zooming in I see my socks are part of an iDog Chill Set from J&R Computer World. While it's one of NYC's greatest discount stores, J&R is an electronics retailer. And those iDog socks are actually two inches long and belong to a stuffed toy I can hook up to my iPod. Baffling. So, I click around for more NYC socks, and there a few other listings, but it's more iDog sets and hampers from Home Depot. Does no one in New York need socks?!

Froogle / Google Local NYC

As it turns out, the most relevant/proximal socks I could find using Froogle Local are at a Target in New Jersey. That's a couple train rides away, the expense of which is insupportable just for buying socks. Froogle Local, instead of pointing out a handy retailer near my home, has just convinced me I should shop online. Tricky, eh? Here's why this is happening:

Froogle (Local) is inefficient, because it relies on retailers to upload inventory
Froogle's usefulness is dependent on heavy retailer participation -- this involves a retailer laboriously uploading a warehouse of product info and keeping it updated on the Froogle site. Experiments like this one show that enormous sector of retailers are not participating in Google's Froogle program. It also means that I won't get any socks in NYC until some vendor proximal to me uploads a pair.

11 Comments:

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For items like these imagine if retailers offered subscription services.

You would subscribe to the service and every few months they would fire you an email or add a post to an RSS feed where they display the latest "socks" or "pants".

These repeat purchases could then be done over the net without having to go to the shop and without the need to test the material or merchandise since you would have bought these before.
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