updated 09:45 am EDT, Tue August 16, 2011
Google Catalogs arrives on iPad first
Google brought some of the tablet magazine experience to shopping catalogs on Tuesday with the rollout of Google Catalogs for the iPad (free, App Store). The release recreates the layout of print catalogs like Bergdorf Goodman, Lands' End, and Urban Outfitters but takes advantage of the tablet to blend some of the web experience. Readers can either buy directly from the catalog owner online or find out whether it's available in a physical retail store nearby.
Particularly enthusiastic shoppers can make collages of products or whole pages and share them with others, including over e-mail. Some goods will have photo and video collections attached, and others will be indexed across catalogs so that readers can see if prices vary elsewhere. Catalogs themselves are free and can be flagged for push notifications when new issues are available.
In an ironic move for Google, only the iPad app is available at first. A version optimized for Android tablets is "coming soon," the company said. No mention has been made of plans for BlackBerry PlayBook or HP TouchPad versions.