It took a while, but Google has made its big move as a local shopping inventory gatekeeper. The company said Thursday that it will offer inventory checks on local stores to see if products are available.
The program has already enlisted some key retailers including Sears, Best buy, Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn and West Elm. Rest assured that local merchants, which increasingly rely on Google to send business their way, will follow suit.
These local inventory checks have been talked about in years. In 2006, Google, Intuit and the Kelsey Group outlined retailing's future and it sounded a lot like what the search giant is rolling out today. Four years later, we're almost to the point where local inventory searches are part of your average Web experience.
In a blog post, Google outlined how it works. You do a search, click on a blue dot to see if a product is near by and then you can check inventory. The search works on the iPhone, Palm WebOS and Android devices.