As most people know by now, Google removed Froogle from the set of links over the search box and replaced it with Video. Froogle has been relegated to “more.” Hitwise’s Bill Tancer literally charts the immediate impact of the change on the relative fortunes of Google Video and Froogle — Froogle’s traffic dropped, Video’s gained.
In May Hitwise compared the relative usage of various Google properties (share of overall Google traffic):
What this distribution shows is that Froogle had slightly more traffic than Video at the time. But Google has obviously made the strategic decision that Video is more important than shopping (even at a time when it’s trying to promote related product Checkout and has just implemented local, offline shopping).
Yet, I understand on one level. Given that Froogle isn’t really a source of revenue for Google (and that it’s in 7th or 8th overall position) and that Video is increasingly strategically important, the decision makes a certain amount of sense.
Does this reflect that Froogle is being cast adrift? Google would probably deny that. After all, Froogle results appear in Google SERPs when products are keywords. (However, I just did three searches for “iPOD,” “digital camera” and “outdoor furniture” and there were no Froogle results).
The practical effect of this change is to reduce Froogle’s exposure. Google could own shopping if it did several simple things and promoted the vertical. But right now at least it seems to have decided to walk away from Froogle in favor of other things. Again, I’m sure Google would say it’s not walking away.
But it sure looks that way.