Google announced in it’s blog that they are launching a fashion boutique website aimed at delivering results catered to your tastes. You curate your own online boutique by adding clothing and items to it that you like, and based on a visual matching algorithm developed by Like.com (acquired by Google) the system will make recommendations to you that match your “style.” As Google says in their blog post, the system “uses computer vision and machine learning technology to visually analyze your taste and match it to items you would like.”
Google started by partnering with a selection of what they call “taste-makers” – people who determine what looks good and what does not. They chose some designers and some celebrities to help with the project. The taste-makers told Google what styles, colors, brands and silhouettes they liked, and what they did not like. The taste-makers also took a visual quiz to teach the site to understand style genres. One of the features I think people will find helpful is the “complete the look” feature that pairs fashion accessories with outfits.
Google is not selling the items, nor is there an ecommerce interface with the system – yet. The system simply adds to your boutique based on your interests and lets you go to their third party website to make your purchases.
As an SEO this raises three questions for me. My first question is how will Google determine the items that will be displayed to you? I suspect it will be based on the amount the third party fashion site is willing to pay for a lead or product placement. My second question is will Google’s new website be “competing” in the results for fashion related traffic? If so I don’t see how that’s fair. How could any boutique outrank property owned by Google? So far there’s nothing really to worry about with ranking because everything is noindexed and nofollowed. Third, isn’t this just a thin affiliate site? Google hates thin affiliates.
Boutiques.com is a very interesting site and I think it will have a big impact on how the web works.