Retailers are being asked to submit products directly into Google Base, rather than using the now-defunct Froogle Merchant Center.

The move reflects Google’s attempts to make Base a central depository of third party information, something that was reinforced by CEO Eric Schmidt in a conference call yesterday.

Schmidt said that Base isn’t intended to be a destination portal for consumers, but more of a place where Google can “gather structured data that can be consumed by other Google services”. Danny Sullivan thinks that this is some way off.

This seems to suggest that Froogle is under no particular threat from within, even though it lags behind many of its competitors in the price and product comparison space, which has seen a raft of acquisition activity in the past 18 months.

Google added a link to Froogle on its famously sparse homepage recently, to drive traffic. Data from Hitwise and ComScore suggests that Froogle’s market share remains in single figures.

Retailers with existing accounts will see that their data has been migrated over to Google Base, where products can be uploaded in bulk, before being despatched to Froogle in the usual manner.

Google Base launched in the UK and Germany last week.