Google Now's most recent updates are clearly focused on bringing your online habits to your offline life. In addition to adding Parking Location cards, searchable mall directories, and offline cards, the updated Google search app for Android features their latest shopping feature.
Android users will now receive alerts through Google search that will let them know if a product they've been searching for online is available at a store nearby. According to The Next Web, Google hasn't yet shared how long the application will remember specific items you've searched for.
Google Is Stalking Your Shopping Habits
My name is Ashley Zeckman and I have an online shopping addiction. Fortunately, the majority of the time I "window shop" and put things in my virtual cart that I never end up purchasing.
A few weeks ago I decided that I wanted to splurge and buy myself a shiny, new Michael Kors watch. I wasn't sure exactly which one I wanted, so I started my online search.
I visited five or six sites trying to find the best deal. Unfortunately, I was crippled by choice and wasn't ready to pull the trigger. I decided to call off my search for the time being and think it over.
Over the next few days I noticed my Facebook ads, promotional emails in my Gmail, and a few other less-than-subtle hints on Google encouraging me to buy this awesome watch. Of course each of the ads made sure that I knew that my precious watch was on sale for a limited time so I had better act soon.
I can't even imagine how many more things I would buy if I was out on a walk and received an alert that the [insert the item you've been eyeing here] I'd been searching for could be purchased at a store only 3 feet away.
The official announcement posted on Google+ put it best: "Now all you have to do is pop into the store and check if they're in stock!"
How Does Google's Shopping Tracker Work?
Google caches the items that you've been searching for online and ties them to your account. If one of the things that you've been researching is sold at a retailer near you, you will receive an alert via Google Now cards of the nearest location and price of your item.
One of the drawbacks is that the app can't tell you if the item is in stock. This is likely to be a riot-inducing issue around Christmas time for parents who are desperately searching for the "must-have" toy of the season that is most likely sold out almost everywhere.
If you don't want your Google Now cards shared (perhaps you're planning on buying a gift for your significant other and you don't want them seeing the alert on your phone), you can easily turn of the tracking by accessing the settings for the app.
Google Now Update: Awesome or Annoying?
Most of us, like it or not, are tied to our phones during the majority of our working hours. If you work or live in a major metropolitan area, what do you think the chances are that you will receive too many pings from Google that the items you want are nearby?
I couldn't find any specifics about whether only certain retailers have forged partnerships with Google to be featured in these alerts. Do you think some retailers will receive favoritism and appear more often in alerts than others that haven't entered into a deal with Google?