Google launches China-only Boutique app for shoppers

Google Boutique

Google has rolled out a new local shopping app just for China called Google Boutique for iPhones, iPads and iPods. The app apparently lets shoppers find information on promotions, discounts and gifts and get local store information, according to a translation of its App Store page.

The app will cover stores, both domestic and foreign, that offer clothing, cosmetics, sports gear, shoes and household items. Users will be able to use the app in Beijing and Shanghai and major shopping malls in China. It’s not clear if there is a corresponding Android app for Chinese users. Google doesn’t operate its Google Play store in China.

It’s unclear what Google’s larger intentions are with Boutique and whether it plans on rolling out the app in the US and other markets. The app icon looks similar to the Google Offers app, which finally went native for iOS in June, and alerts users to nearby local daily deals. The Boutique app appears to be a larger shopping tool, helping people understand their shopping options around them. This is not to be confused with Google’s previous product, which was later rolled up into its product search.

Again, this might remain just a China-only tool or a way for Google to learn more about the China market. But it might also be a way to test out new location-based shopping tools. That’s a big opportunity and Google is keen to help consumers connect to local information, something it’s doing more with Google+ Local, which replaces Google Places and incorporates Zagat scores and summaries into its listings.

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