On Friday, Techdows discovered what appeared to be a test for shopping ads on Chrome’s new tab page. Google has since clarified that the products in the experiment are not ads, confirming the test. Along with helping users pick up where they left off in their capitalist romps online, the new tab page could become a substantial hub that also pulls in recipes and streaming services.
A Chrome hub — It looks like Google is looking to take Chrome’s new tab layout and make it a true launching point for users’ web activity. Test modules found by Techdows included shopping cards, recipes, and a streaming service hub dubbed "Kaleidoscope." Going beyond algorithms for your most visited sites, having only one of these features enter the fold would create a new lightning rod for Google services. You could experience the bulk of the internet without actually going to a website.
Google wants to be your internet — Undeterred by a federal antitrust lawsuit, Google is building out its network products. Online shopping has received increased attention this year — for obvious reasons — and only Google really has the power to challenge Amazon when it comes to user data. If it could broaden that data and harness it (say, in exchange for encouraging unsure buyers to convert their tentative online window shopping into closed deals for a nominal fee) Google could help grow its stake in the online commerce sector.
Though that wouldn't exactly make for the sort of wide, rival-laden field we'd like to see, Google definitely has the pockets and the data to take on Jeff Bezos’ gargantuan golden goose. Unfortunately, every time tech giants try to compete with each other — even substantial companies — tend to take a hit.
So long, Honey — In addition to fashion-centric updates, Google introduced price tracking and recently bolstered the cards it shows for retailers to reflect the quarantine online shopping cadence. While you say some kind words over Honey’s grave, think about Google reminding you to spend money on something you recently searched for every time you open a new tab.
This kind of card-based launch page could honestly be retooled for a valuable Chrome OS experience, but as a general Chrome product, it blatantly uses customer data to funnel users through more Google products to get even more data to eventually serve us all more lucrative ads. You know, like “a monopoly gatekeeper for the internet.”