As usual, Danny Sullivan at SE Land has great in-depth coverage, Goodbye Froogle, Hello Google Product Search. One interesting aspect of the UI change is the change in the way query refinement is done:
The big giant box of query refinement options that were at the top of the page will move to the bottom and be more condensed. The refinements were relatively little used at the top of the page, Mayer said, and putting them down at the bottom also seemed to make more sense.I'm not sure if I like the change, but it sure makes products the focus of the page, with more content above the fold.
CNet's coverage, Google takes the pun out of shopping, has a great title. It is a decent article, but most of it is on Google Base, not Product Search (highlighting some continued confusion in this area). Here are some highlights from what I would describe as the Google Base article:
Rather than encourage people to go to specific sites for specialized search, which is what vertical sites do, Google wants them to go to Google.com first and find the best results from its own specialized searches there. And most people do start their searches, for everything from cars to houses to jobs, on a major search site, experts say. Recent statistics from online traffic measurement firm Hitwise found that search engines are the primary way that Internet users navigate to key industry categories...
But Mayer says Google Base isn't intended to be competition for e-commerce companies. "Faceted search is an important part of the process," allowing people to search for part-time versus full-time jobs and to search for a five-bedroom house, she said. "We know that's important to search and that's something Google hasn't done particularly well in the past."
A case study on culinary Web site Epicurious.com provided by Google said the company didn't see any results from its recipe listings on Google Base until it added descriptors such as cuisine type, course and main ingredient. Then traffic to the site jumped 6 percent immediately.
As Google's prominence and power of user attention grows, vertical sites can find Google's approach unsettling. Instead, many verticals are trying to lessen their dependence on Google and find ways to drive direct and repeat usage where Google is not a part of the transaction.