Google's Boutiques.com opens for business today

November 17, 2010: 7:52 AM ET

The product of Google's acquisition of Like.com comes alive as a social fashion shopping site.

Boutiques.com is an interesting play for Google and, from the website, you'll notice that it is unlike anything Google (GOOG) has done before.  There isn't any advertising and the imagery is big and beautiful.  This is all about shopping.

You'll notice that there isn't any Google branding on the site.  The shop site was fast-tracked to market and was a product of its  Like.com acquisition earlier this year.  Google says there was no time to put in their own branding but subsequent iterations of the site might show some Google logos.

This is a shopping site where users can compare thousands of brands of clothing in a big, visual way. "Google's vision is to help people find and shop for all the world's products."

I'm not seeing a lot of men's clothing listed.  In fact, I'm pretty sure there isn't any men's clothing listed here at all.  This is clearly a site for women.

Google will launch a companion iPad app to complement the experience.

A big draw of Boutique.com is its "Celebrity Boutiques."  Much like celebrity playlists on iTunes, Celebrity Boutiques show the favorites of celebrities consumers may want to emulate in one way or another.  Google has an impressive lineup of both entertainment stars and celebrity bloggers listed at its opening.

Celebrities include:

Anna Paquin, April Bowlby, Ashely Olsen, Ashlee Simpson-Wentz, Ashley Benson, Carey Mulligan, Debi Mazar, Elisabeth Moss, Emma Roberts, Ginnifer Goodwin, Iman, Jamie-Lynn Sigler, Jane Krakowski, Jenna Fischer, Jessica Lowndes, Katharine McPhee, Katrina Bowden, Kelly Osbourne, Kim Raver, Krysten Ritter, Lindsay Price, Maggie Q, Malin Akerman, Mary-Kate Olsen, Miranda Lambert, Olivia Palermo, Rashida Jones, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Shay Mitchell and Vivica A. Fox

Google also lined up an impressive initial set of designers including:

Alice & Olivia, Andrew Marc, Anna Sui, Badgley Mischka, Mark & James, Catherine Malandrino, Christian Siriano, Cynthia Rowley, Cynthia Steffe, Derek Lam, Elise Overland, Erin Fetherston, Geren Ford, Grey Ant, Isaac Mizrahi, Kate Spade, Lulu Guinness, Marchesa, Oscar de la Renta, Rag and Bone, Rebecca Taylor, Tracy Reese, Betsey Johnson, Diane Von Furstenberg, Halston Heritage, Karen Millen, Nicole Miller, TemperleyTibi,Tory Burch, William Rast and more are being added.

The idea is that people can create their own boutique and share their clothing preferences with friends and publish those online.  Friends would share their finds with other friends.

Search

It wouldn't be a Google product without search, and Boutiques.com employs a powerful visual product search pulled from Like.com that allows consumers to filter by color, silhouette, pattern, size, style, merchant, and of course price.

Google touts:

Inspiration photos - Try a search for [yellow pumps] and you'll see matching outfit ideas to the right of the search results. We feature images from streetstyle sites, and collage and styling sites to provide you with the online equivalent of styled mannequins to give you inspiration.

Complete the Look - Ever wonder what to pair with that dress? Our fashion designers wrote hundreds of style rules—like "heavily patterned handbags don't tend to go with heavily patterned dresses"—that we used to develop a tool to suggest items that match.

Visual search - Sometimes you love an item but not in a particular color. We analyze the photograph of an item for its color, shape and pattern and try to help you find visually similar items.

Boutiques on your tablet - Download our iPad application, lean back and move through inventory as if you were flipping through clothes on a rack at the store.

Since it is a legacy product from Like.com, Boutiques still operates on a CPC (cost per click) or CPA (cost per action) basis, unlike Google's product search, the unit which it will be operating under.  Google wouldn't say whether they'd be keeping that model or if they'd eventually try advertising against the site.  Or both.

Google is having a launch event tonight in Soho New York.  We'll be on hand to watch it unfold.

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About This Author
Seth Weintraub
Seth Weintraub

Google went from searching the Web to worming its way into nearly every facet of business and government. Seth Weintraub unveils where the company is going, who it's competing with, who it's about to compete with and how market forces push the company to veer or adhere to its Don't Be Evil motto. For 15 years, Weintraub was a global IT director for a number of companies before becoming a blogger.

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