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3/11/2010
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Google Debuts Product Inventory Search, Apps Macros

Finding nearby things to buy and automating actions in Google Apps just got easier.

Google on Thursday said that users of its Product Search service on a mobile device can now check whether products that appear in search results are in stock at select nearby stores.

"We're happy to announce that as of today, if you're searching for a product that is sold by participating retailers, including Best Buy, Sears, Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn, or West Elm, you can just look for the blue dots in the search results to see if it's available in a local store," said Google product managers Paul Lee and Yury Pinsky in a blog post.

By tapping on the "In stock nearby" link displayed alongside these blue dots, mobile device users will be directed to a list of nearby sellers that have the desired item, provided the user has enabled access to his or her location through My Location or has specified it manually.

Inventory checking is available to users of the iPhone, Palm WebOS phones, or Android devices in the U.S., by visiting Google.com using a mobile browser, selecting the "more" link and then selecting the "Shopping" menu tab.

It can also be accessed through the "Shopping results" selection in Google.com's Universal Search results.

Google is inviting retailers who wish to participate in this program to contact the company.

On Wednesday, Google gave Apps users the ability to automate tasks in Google Apps using scripts or macros.

Available to businesses, schools and other organizations since January following closed testing last year, Google Apps Script allows Google Apps users to create Google Spreadsheet macros, to automate repetitive tasks like Google Docs form processing, to link products like Gmail and Calendar, and to customize Google products with buttons and menus.

Google has also made a public Apps Script gallery available, where users can share their scripts. It's accessible from any Google Spreadsheet via the Insert menu and the Script option.

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