August 31, 2011, 11:12 AM

Google plays mobile host to 50 retail catalogs from Blue Nile to L.L. Bean

A new iPad app, Google Catalogs lets consumers shop 50 digital catalogs from such retailers Blue Nile, L.L. Bean and Pottery Barn.

Google Inc. is diving further into mobile retail. Last month it unveiled Google Catalogs, a new iPad app that lets consumers shop 50 digital catalogs from such retailers as jewelry merchant Blue Nile, apparel and outdoor gear retailer L.L. Bean and household furnishings merchant Pottery Barn.

Other brands in the catalog include Anthropologie, Crate & Barrel, Patagonia and Williams-Sonoma. Google organizes the 50 merchants into Women's Fashion & Apparel, Jewelry, Beauty, Home, Men's Fashion & Apparel, Kids & Baby, and Gifts.

Touching "Buy on Website" on a tag in the catalog opens up the product buy page on the retailer's e-commerce site without leaving the app. Google does not charge retailers to be included in the app, though that structure may change, a spokeswoman says. Touching "Find Nearby" activates the iPad's GPS technology and displays a map showing nearby stores.

Google is competing with four other catalog aggregator apps that have launched within the past year: Coffee Table, Catalogs.com, Catalog Spree from Padopolis, and Catalogue from TheFind.

Google announced Google Catalogs shortly after it said it would pay about $12.5 billion for Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc., a manufacturer of mobile phones that also owns thousands of mobile technology patents Google covets.

bill@verticalwebmedia.com

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