Important changes to Google Product Search feed specification & policies

Monday, July 11, 2011 | 6:07 AM

Updated 7am PST to include updates on China and Australia.

In 2011, we are committed to making Google Product Search an even better shopping experience for our users. Our goal is for shoppers to quickly and easily find the information they need on Google Product Search - and in turn to send more shoppers to our merchants.

To support this effort, we’re announcing a number of changes to the Google Product Search Feed Specification and Policies. Starting on September 22, 2011 we will be taking action against accounts with feeds targeting the United States, France, United Kingdom, Japan, and Germany that do not comply with the new specification and policy requirements. We will be sending emails to those accounts with feeds targeting China, Australia, Italy, the Netherlands, and Spain, with more information about changes in those countries.

Summary of Changes
We are confident that the new feed specifications will have a strong impact on the user experience. Below are several examples of how the feed spec is changing in the United States; please note that other countries have slightly different requirements:

  • Availability: We’d like a user to be able to find your products even when they are out of stock. For this reason, the [availability] status of all your items will be required.
  • Google Product Category: We have added a new required high-level attribute called [google product category] that contains the category of the item in Google’s taxonomy (currently only required for a select number of categories). This is in addition to the current [product type] attribute.
  • Images: We’re making [image link] required and we encourage you to submit up to 10 additional product images through [additional image link]. This way, you can improve the visual representation of your products.
  • Apparel: In order to create a better experience for product variants such as dresses or shoes that are available in multiple colors or sizes, we ask you to include information like [size] and [color] in your product feed. In addition, we require you to provide [gender] and [age group].
  • Data Freshness: We will continue to regularly check feeds for accuracy of pricing, availability, and general product information, and take action against accounts that violate our standards.
Merchant Resources
Below you’ll find the new feed specification and policies and resources to help you prepare for these changes.
We will also provide a video with a more in-depth look at the changes soon. Check back for more information.

Enforcing the new Product Search Feed Requirements and Policies
After September 22, 2011, we will be taking action against accounts with feeds targeting the US, UK, Germany, Japan, and France that do not comply with our policies (please review the policy document referenced above for details). Note these changes only apply to Google Product Search - not to Google product ad formats or Google Commerce Search.