Following in the footsteps on online retail giant Amazon and Web-based auction house eBay, search and advertising powerhouse Google is reportedly working on a button-based feature that would allow users to instantly buy products they search for.
According to a May 15 report in The Wall Street Journal, which quoted unnamed sources familiar with the development, the ability to make instant purchases based on search results will be deployed on Google's mobile browser.
Once users have selected the purchase option, which will only accompany sponsored search results, they are taking to a separate page where they can chose shipping options, make other customization choices like color or size, and then complete the purchase.
Google is reportedly in talks with Macy's department store as a launch partner, and the article also stated the Google won't be offering the service as a feature of its desktop browser.
The WSJ article indicated some retailers are worried the feature could serve as a barrier in the relationship between stores and consumers.
"To mollify retailers' concerns, Google will allow consumers to opt into the same marketing programs that they would be exposed to had they made the purchase on the retailer' own websites, one of the people said," according to the Journal. "That means retailers will get address information and likely email addresses for future marketing efforts as long as shoppers opt in."
The paper first reported Google's plans to develop such a feature in December 2014, a strategy that would put the company in direct competition with online retailers like Amazon, which currently dominates the market.
The move could certainly ruffle feathers at Amazon, which spent nearly $160 million on Google US search ads in 2013 -- far more than any other company.
Overall, the top 25 US search ad buyers alone spent $1.34 billion in 2013 on Google, according to Ad Age DataCenter's first ranking based on data from AdGooroo, a Kantar Media company focused on search marketing.
By 2018, mobile search spending will reach $28.41 billion, or 85.9% of the US digital search advertising market, according to a June 2014 report from eMarketer.
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Google owned 82.8% of the $2.24 billion mobile search market in 2012, the report noted, and as the market continues to fragment it is adding additional features to its mobile-centric search platform to attract new revenue. (Google's share dropped to 68.5% in 2013, as other players have ramped up their efforts to become the entry portal for mobile information.)
Earlier this month the company revealed more of its searches take place on mobile devices than on computers in 10 different countries, including the US.
In light of this trend, Google also instituted changes to its search algorithm that give greater weight to those sites that work well on mobile devices, as well as making updates to AdWords, the company's online advertising service.
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