Google Announces Slew of Retail-Focused Updates

The announcements include an expanded Shopify partnership and a new Chrome feature that tracks abandoned shopping carts.

Need to Know

  • Google is partnering with Samsung to release a new smartwatch operating system, which will still be called WearOS.
  • The company will also be bringing capabilities from Fitbit, which it acquired in January, and Google Pay to WearOS.
  • Google also announced a partnership with Shopify that will provide the e-commerce platform’s 1.7 million merchants the ability to reach consumers through Google Search.
  • In addition, a new feature in Chrome’s New Tab page will show retailer shopping carts customers have left behind, with a preview of what items are in those carts.


Google continues to assert its power as player in the e-commerce game.

On Tuesday, the tech giant revealed a number of new tools, partnerships, and features that will increase its capacities in the online retail arena. These included several updates to its wearable operating system, WearOS, plus a new partnership with online retail giant Shopify and a new abandoned-cart feature within Chrome.

First, Google announced that it will be releasing a new version of its smartwatch operating system in partnership with Samsung. The new OS, which will still be called WearOS, will Google’s OS with Samsung’s Tizen OS in order to improve overall performance on smartwatches.

The move positions Google well to compete with Apple, particularly Google’s announcement that it will be bringing health tracking and on-wrist celebrations from Fitbit, which Google acquired for $2.1 billion earlier this year, to WearOS. Apple’s launch of Apple Fitness+ workout programs for the Apple Watch in December positioned that company as a leader in the field, but Google’s Fitbit integration poses a significant threat.

Google’s WearOS update also comes with a new Google Pay integration, which will expand use of that tool into 26 new countries.

On the e-commerce front, Google announced an expanded partnership with online retail giant Shopify, which will allow that platform’s more than 1.7 million merchants the ability to reach customers directly through Google Search. In just a few clicks, Shopify merchants will be able to display available products through Search, as well as other Google products including Maps, Images, Lens, and YouTube. The Shopify integration will give Shopify merchants the ability to use tools from Google’s new Shopping Graph: for instance, consumers can use Google Lens to search for products within an image or screenshot, which will then connect customers to online merchants selling that product.

Finally, Google has introduced a new feature to the “New Tab” tool within Google Chrome that displays abandoned shopping carts to users, while showing them a preview of what has been left behind in those carts. Users can click the cart from the New Tab screen in order to navigate back to that cart to complete their purchase.

“We … know that shopping isn’t always a linear experience,” Bill Ready, president of commerce and payments at Google wrote in a blog post announcing the new e-comm tools. “That’s why … we’re introducing a new feature in Chrome that works locally on your device to let you see your open carts when you open a new tab. So when you step away or browse on other sites, you can pick up your shopping right where you left off.”

Google has been working throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to introduce new tools and functions that make online selling easier for merchants who needed to quickly pivot to digital retail when the pandemic hit. In April 2020, Google waived merchant fees for those selling through Google Shopping, which the tech giant says resulted in a 70% increase in the size of its product catalog and an 80% increase in merchants using the Google Shopping platform.

Last month, Google introduced Product Discovery Solutions for Retail, which will help retailers improve their e-commerce capabilities with enhanced search and recommendation capabilities, and visual search, as well as Cloud Search for Retail. And most recently, the company partnered with retail POS company Lightspeed to allow retailers to advertise and easily manage their Google Business listing directly within the Lightspeed platform.