RIP to the Google Shopping app. XDA spotted a hidden closing message in the app on Thursday, and late Friday, Google confirmed to 9to5Google that the Shopping app is on the way out. Here’s the company’s statement:
Within the next few weeks, we’ll no longer be supporting the Shopping app. All of the functionality the app offered users is available on the Shopping tab. We’ll continue building features within the Shopping tab and other Google surfaces, including the Google app, that make it easy for people to discover and shop for the products they love.
The Google Shopping app launched only 19 months ago, when it took over for another Google shopping shutdown, Google Express. The Google Shopping service has been a rough proposition for users—starting in 2012, it has been nothing but an ad vector that exclusively showed “paid listings” and no organic results whatsoever. This made some sense as a service that showed advertisements in little embedded boxes in Google.com search results, but it was unclear why a user would download an app that exclusively shows ads.
In April 2020, Google Shopping gave up on the “paid listings only” policy and started listing anyone that signed up on the “Google Merchant Center.” The Merchant Center has retailers generate and send Google a product data feed, which is used for the search results. This means Google Shopping still isn’t a spider-driven search engine the way Google Search is. Google Search does it best to find, catalog, and index the world’s data, while Google Shopping doesn’t go out of its way to index the web; it only cares about businesses that send it data feeds. This can lead to woefully inadequate listings for some searches, especially for companies Google doesn’t like. For instance, a search for “Amazon Echo” will never list an Amazon.com result in the Shopping search results (Amazon is welcome to buy an ad, though).
Google’s statement says that the primary interface for Google Shopping will now be the shopping tab on Google.com, which, again, is kind of strange for a product that isn’t an indexed organic search result. But Google Shopping has always been a weird product since the death of Froogle.