eBay plans to release an upgraded web search engines early next year. This move is slated to help eBay be more competitive with Amazon.com in the online e-commerce market. When a customer shops online, the first thing they do is a search for the product they want. If that process takes too long, the customer will most likely go to another online competitor, or make their purchase locally. The result is a loss in customers and revenue.
eBay’s old search engine, called the Voyager has been around for more than ten years and it needs an upgrade. It was the best technology around when it was launched, but times are changing. Instead of an upgrade to Voyager, eBay is creating a new search engine named Cassini that will be launched in early 2013. eBay hired over 150 skilled employees to work on Cassini to make it the best web search engine around.
Some of the interesting features of Cassini are searches will show full product descriptions, Cassini will match search inquires and include product photographs, the search will also hone in on information about the seller and the buyer. Cassini will “understand” what the searcher wants in more detail.
The Voyager search engine takes search keyword literally and currently matches the keyword to titles in the product descriptions. This is because each eBay vendor describes their products differently and there are no strict rules on the how to write descriptions. Voyager pulls up everything related to the keyword that a customer searches. The customer then must add another search term, and eventually they will find the product. This is time consuming.
Amazon.com has a catalog of products, and strict product descriptions. This allows the customer to search a product with ease and there will be no wait time for results. It’s almost a perfect search engine system.
Walmart has already launched their new search engine. It was created, amazingly enough, in less than nine months. This new search engine recognizes phrases that people use when they describe a product instead of matching the search to the exact words in the listings. One example of the way it works would be if a customer was searching for a backyard chair, the search engines will understand that a patio or garden chair is the same thing.
These types search engine improvements right on their websites for customers to use, this may be a threat to Google. Google wants the public to search for products on their website before going to Walmart.com or eBay. Google gets paid through e-commerce advertisements. If sites like Walmart.com and eBay suddenly stop advertising on Google, this will undoubtedly hurt Google’s business.
Google has also upgraded their search technology. Now they have visual recognition technology to search products. This means lots of photographs of products, mainly clothing.
With this competition to rein in the online buyer, it will be interesting to see how these new developments affect sales and traffic. We all have to wait a little longer to find out.