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google + shopping = boutiques.com (beta)

November 17, 2010

Google unveiled its shopping site Boutiques.com on Wednesday morning, after a few days of hype about the venture. On Monday, WWD broke it down for readers, explaining, “Anyone will be able to create and share their own personalized shop by selecting style preferences and the looks, brands and items they love–in the end making it easier and more stylish to buy fashion on the Web.” Also, as WWD wrote, the site aggregates the items, meaning, “Visitors will not actually complete a purchase on Google, but will click through to a brand’s online store or a retailer who carries the item, such as Saks Fifth Avenue, Barneys New York, Net-a-porter or Yoox.”

Celebrities like Carey Mulligan, Claire Danes and Anna Paquin, a handful of designers, and bloggers like Bryanboy and Susie Bubble have also set up virtual shops that showcase their fashion picks.

Boutiques.com might also make spotting knockoffs a bit easier, as Frockwriter points out:

Like the $1365 Alexander Mcqueen dress with trompe l’oeil jewelled bodice recommended by The Cherry Blossom Girl? Adjacent to that image, Boutiques.com throws up an array of what it is calling “visually similar” garments at varying price points, which click through to the plethora of online retail partners that are paying a fee to Google to be featured (plus, one assumes, a commission).

The New York Times’ Cathy Horyn has already reviewed the new site, which she called “a deliberate collision between nerds and fashion mavens.” She wrote:

Indeed, whatever your style preference — classic, romantic, casual — the inspiration panel automatically adjusts for them, like a support group that can read your mind with surprising precision.

And that may be Boutiques.com’s ultimate game-changer — how precisely it analyzes your preferences to give you what you requested. As many online shoppers know, search engines tend to give you stuff you don’t really want.

However, after talking with users, Horyn found “as curated as it is, a lot still comes up in a search.” One shopper added, “It’s going to take some getting used to, that’s for sure.”

Check out Boutiques.com and tell us what you think in the comments.

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