Google is trying to reinvent fashion on the web. Today, the search giant launched Boutiques.com, a fashion website that lets buyers take an eHarmony-like compatibility test to figure out what types of fashion they like and then shop for shows, clothes, and accessories to their heart’s delight. The site lacks any visible connection to Google, but will no doubt help the company’s Check Out payment service take off and improve its shopping search engine results.
Much of the technology for the site comes from Like.com, which was purchased by Google in August. “We’ve developed technology that lets us understand visually what terms like “red high-heeled pumps” and “floral patterned sleeveless dress” mean and created algorithms to understand whether those pumps complement or clash with that dress,” Like.com wrote on its website when the acquisition was announced. “We see joining Google as a way to supersize our vision and supercharge our passion.”
The technology has paid off. While not as slick looking as shopstyle.com or style.com, Boutiques is a good start, if a bit blocky. Some fine tuning in the jpg and art department could correct much of these issues. As a functional online store, it works well, perhaps better than Amazon and eBay fashion offerings. Items are presented visually and have a “Love” or “Hate” button at the bottom of each, allowing users to try and help Google figure out what they like. It seems to emphasize designer labels, but casual items like Levi’s are in there as well. The makers of the site hope that it will serve as both a functional search place, and help users discover new clothing they wouldn’t have considered.
If only Google would launch one of these sites for men and people who like to read about things like Google. We wouldn’t mind an algorithm telling us what to buy, especially if it made us look a bit cooler and saved time shopping. Alas, it has not happened yet.