Google Dumps the ‘F’ Name

Internet shoppers who appreciate a good pun will be sorry to note the passing of Google’s Froogle product search service, which the company said Wednesday it had decided to rename. In its place we now have Google Product Search — not nearly as fun a moniker, but infinitely more descriptive.

“Froogle offers a lot of great functionality and has helped many users find things to buy over the years, but the name caused confusion for some because it doesn’t clearly describe what the product does,” wrote Marissa Mayer, Google vice president for search and user experience, and Jeff Bartelma, product manager for Google Product Search, on the company’s official blog.

Family Resemblance

The company also simplified the Product Search user interface to be more consistent with the one on the main Google search page.

“This change is intended to make it easier for users to identify relevant product search information and ensure the product search experience is familiar to users who are accustomed to search results and other services such as Google Book Search, Google Image Search and Google Patent Search,” said a company spokesperson.

Google launched Froogle in 2002, but removed the link to it from the main Google page last year. Since then, the most relevant product search results have been available from the main Google search page as well as from Froogle.

The Time Had Come

“This was something they needed to do, because people didn’t really understand Froogle,” Greg Sterling, principal analyst with Sterling Market Intelligence, told TechNewsWorld.

“Froogle was this sort of playful thing that came from a time when the company was more playful than it is today,” he said. “Google Product Search is much more of a straightforward proposition for everybody.”

Many people have begun doing product searches through the main Google page anyway, Sterling noted, so a more descriptive name makes sense. “Froogle was fun, but it wasn’t particularly effective in communicating what it’s about.”

A Telling Decision?

“They went from a cute name to one that tells you what the service actually does, and if you’re going to change, that’s not a bad way to do it,” Rob Enderle, president and principal analyst of the Enderle Group, told TechNewsWorld. “Of course, any cachet they might have had with Froogle, they’re going to lose in the transition.”

Froogle wasn’t as successful as the company might have liked, he noted, but the reasons for that may have gone deeper than its name.

“Sometimes people do name changes because there’s nothing else they can think of to do,” he said. “When you have an inexperienced marketing team, they often focus on the brand first and the fundamentals second. This indicates that we still have a relatively inexperienced marketing team at Google.”

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