Author Archives: Lax Poojary

Shoploop: an entertaining new way to shop online

Last year, I was on the New York City subway conducting user research for Touring Bird, a project I was working on with Area 120, Google’s in-house lab for experimental projects. One of the young commuters standing next to me was silently scrolling on her device, switching between a social media app, YouTube and an online shop. 

Curious, I asked her what she was doing. It turns out she'd seen somebody promote a makeup product on social media, and wanted to check it out—so she watched reviews on YouTube to see how it would look in real life and whether other people liked it. Then she looked it up on an e-commerce site to buy it. This took three different apps or websites, at minimum, to find what she was looking for.

This was the original insight for a new experiment Area 120 is launching today: Shoploop, a video shopping platform for discovering, evaluating and buying products, all in one place.

Discover new products in a short, entertaining video format

The experience on Shoploop is more interactive than just scrolling through images, titles and descriptions on a traditional e-commerce site. All Shoploop videos are shorter than 90 seconds and help you discover new products in an entertaining way, whether you want to try at-home nail stickersrevive your second-day hair or get a concealer that gives full coverage

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Hélène's fun video shows you how to make your eyeliner pop for summer.

Information from real, relatable people

We want to help people experience the look and feel of products they’re shopping for in real life without going to a physical store. Shoploop helps you get product reviews from real people who are knowledgeable about the products in a particular area. For example, Alex shows live product usage in her video to get rid of pimples, and Kim includes practical tips and advice on how to use a face roller in her video.

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Stacy demonstrating how to get pink puff hair.

A simple purchasing experience

Once you find a product that interests you, you can either save the product to buy it later or click straight to the merchant’s website to complete the purchase. You can also follow your favorite Shoploop creators and share videos you like with your friends and family. 

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A quick and easy purchase experience on Shoploop.

Currently, we’re focused on content creators, publishers and online store owners in the beauty industry in categories such as makeupskincarehair and nails. Our goal is to provide them a platform where they can review and recommend products and help others shop directly from their videos. For example, Jessica, contributing editor at Allure, shows the benefits of using a Mihakka (a face exfoliating tool made with clay from the Atlas mountains in Morocco), and Adeline Koh, owner of handmade skincare company Sabbatical Beauty, highlights the craftsmanship and story behind her products. If you are a content creator or a store owner in any of these product areas, you can apply through our website to be an exclusive Shoploop creator.

Check out our Shoploop experiment by visiting on your mobile device. The current site is optimized for mobile and we are working hard to bring it to desktop users soon. 

Touring Bird lands with Google to plan your perfect trip

Traveling to new places is fun and exciting—but for a lot of people, planning what to do once you’re there is not. It often involves hours of research: finding things to do and see, reading travel guides and blogs, comparing prices and asking friends for recommendations. Even after all that research, there’s always a fear of wasting precious vacation time on disappointing experiences, or missing out on the most important things to do. And travelers who skip the planning process entirely can find themselves paying the price when a popular attraction or activity is sold out or closed.  

Our small team decided to work on improving the research and booking experience for tours and activities within Area 120, Google’s internal incubator for experimental ideas. Area 120 was created to provide Google employees a place to pursue and test their promising ideas full-time, with dedicated support and resources. Through this program, we set out to build a new tool that addresses the need for a centralized destination to plan your next vacation.

Touring Bird helps you explore and compare prices and options across providers and makes it easier to book tours, tickets and activities in top destinations around the world. You can do all this in a single place—saving both research time and money. We also wanted to make travel more fun and memorable by making it easier to discover unique things to do, like how to trace the footsteps of Sherlock Holmes in London, visit Senso-ji temple in Tokyo at night or explore hidden catacombs in New York City. For travelers looking for ideas, Touring Bird presents options by interest (like local eats, photo-worthy spots or kid-friendly activities) and offers curated recommendations from travel writers, locals, and destination experts. 

After an initial test launch in Paris in early 2018, we expanded Touring Bird to cover 20 of the world’s top destinations later that year. We learned a lot from the people using Touring Bird, and we continued tweaking the product based on their feedback. For example, based on the insight that every traveler has unique interests and needs, we introduced a new way to customize and compare options across multiple providers. And earlier this year, we expanded even further to cover 200 destinations. So far, the reaction from users and partners has been overwhelmingly positive.

Today we are announcing that Touring Bird is successfully moving on from the experimental environment of Area 120 into Google, where the team will continue building compelling experiences for travelers and connecting them to tour and activity providers in destinations around the world. That way, the next time you're booking a vacation, planning what to do during your trip is one less thing to worry about.