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Hitwise reports that Google’s homepage placement of Froogle, its shopping search engine, has seen an immediate impact on visits to the Froogle website http://froogle.google.com in the UK and the US.

Although Froogle was first launched 15 months ago, Google has only now decided to give its shopping search engine prominent placement on its US site, which currently only lists products from US retailers. The timing of this move is particularly interesting as it follows hot on the heels of Yahoo!’s acquisition of Kelkoo on Friday last week.

In the US on Monday, Froogle almost tripled its visits over night, becoming the 8th most visited site within Hitwise’s Shopping & Classifieds - Rewards & Directories category, ahead of Shopping.com and MSN Shopping.

In the UK on Monday, Froogle saw an almost 13 fold increase in its visits over night, climbing 84 places in the ranking within the Shopping & Classifieds – Rewards & Directories category, already claiming almost a quarter of Dealtime’s traffic (aka Shopping.com) but still well behind Kelkoo.

Simon Chamberlain, General Manager of Hitwise UK said today: “There is little doubt that Google’s loyal and extensive user base will be drawn to explore its new offerings and the early signs are that in terms of size of audience, Froogle will have great reach. Additionally, by not charging retailers to list their inventory, Froogle will have very comprehensive product listings in a short time. In light of the impact Google has had on e-commerce without Froogle, the inevitable launch of the service in the UK will have a positive impact for UK retailers and e-commerce in general.

“While many have seen this as a defensive play against Yahoo!’s acquisition of Kelkoo last week, Kelkoo, Shopping.com and Pricerunner all offer a different service to both consumers and retailers alike. By providing highly relevant, price driven results and/or consumer reviews, Froogle’s competitors offer better qualification of the retailer’s offer and the consumer’s intention to purchase. From a user’s perspective, with as many as 244,000 Froogle results for a search on “apple ipod”, the ultimate decision about which shopping engine to use will come down to a question of the quality of the results.”

Published on: 12:00AM on 1st April 2004