Google announced several important changes to its product search feed specification this week. If you're an Internet retailer and use Google Product Search as a channel to promote products, the developments should be top of mind.
The changes relate primarily to providing shoppers with more accurate and "fresher" information. Google is now requiring merchants to show availability of products, include the appropriate Google product category, and is making the image link mandatory as well. For retailers selling apparel, merchants will need to include information such as size and color as well as for whom the product is designed (age and gender).
Perhaps the most important aspect of the announcement was that starting September 22, 2011, Google will take "taking action" against accounts with feeds targeting the United States, France, United Kingdom, Japan, and Germany that do not comply with the new specification and policy requirements.