Google Cloud has released a new fully managed search tool, called Retail Search, which is aimed at retailers who are concerned about product discovery on their digital platforms. \n\nThe service is intended to solve a common retail challenge of losing customers when they don\u2019t immediately find their desired product on an ecommerce platform. This phenomenon, which Google calls search abandonment, could cost US retailers around $300 billion each year, according to research conducted jointly by Google and The Harris Poll. That research also found that 94% of US consumers had abandoned a shopping session because they received irrelevant search results.\n\nBringing Google Search to Retail Search\n\nThe new service, which was initially announced last year, aims to bring Google\u2019s expertise around search indexing, retrieval, and ranking to a retailer\u2019s unique product catalog and user data.\n\n\u201cIt's a full-stack service which has all capabilities of what a search engine does, rather than individual components of just ranking or just indexing or just scoring and so on,\u201d said Srikanth Belwadi, group product manager at Google\u00a0Cloud. \u201cThere is no need to pre-process data, train or hypertune machine learning models, nor load balance or manually provision your infrastructure to handle unpredictable traffic spikes. We do it all for you automatically.\u201d\n\nOther features include semantic search to effectively match product attributes with website content for fast, relevant product discovery, and optimization of product results based on user interaction and ranking models.\n\nRetail Search builds on Google Cloud\u2019s existing retail-focused solutions, such as Recommendations AI and Vision API Product Search. Released in July 2020, Recommendations AI is another managed service that aims to improve product recommendations. The Vision API computer vision product was launched in 2019 and provides retailers with the option of giving customers the freedom to search for a product using an image.\n\nRetail Search: a market share and data play\n\nAccording to analysts, Retail Search is aimed squarely at retailers trying to pivot digitally and offer competitive online shopping services.\n\n\u201cFor retail specifically, it can help businesses make sure that customers quickly find the product or service they\u2019re looking for, or that a similar product can be accurately recommended, to increase conversion, cross-sell, and upsell,\u201d said Hayley Sutherland, senior research analyst at IDC.\n\nFor Forrester\u2019s senior analyst Tracy Woo, Google\u2019s intent is to gain more market share while also gaining access to more data. \u201cThese are machine learning algorithms; the more data collected the better the results,\u201d she said. \u201cEmbedding their search engine in\u00a0retailers is a two-way street.\u00a0Retailers benefit from\u00a0Google\u2019s superior search capabilities;\u00a0Google\u00a0gets all of the data gained from these search results.\u201d\n\nGoogle reached out after publication to clarify that its Retail Search models are specific to a customer's data, which is strongly isolated and not used to improve Google Search services.\n\nRay Wang, principal analyst at Constellation Research, sees Retail Search as a strongly differentiated product to anything offered by rival cloud vendors Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure.\n\n\u201cGoogle Cloud is empowering customers with tools to compete against Amazon in an effective manner. As you know, most retailers will not use AWS for cloud and Google is capitalizing on this with a cross-sell. Customers get Amazon.com capabilities, without having to go to Amazon and AWS,\u201d he said.\n\nRetail Search is now generally available to Google Cloud customers.