Google Product Search feed specifications change 7/12/211

As many of you have seen already, Google announced changes to their feed specifications which will kick in on September 22nd. Of course you'll want to start preparing and changing things before then. Our goal with this notice is to let you know of the changes, but more importantly, let you know what you must do to keep your products running past September 22nd.

I'll cover the points from their announcement and the detailed list of changes. Also, apparel items have their own distinct challenges now so we'll cover the basics of those (that are beyond the rest) at the end of this post.

This post will be modified as we progress and learn more so feel free to comment or contact us with questions and we'll answer as well as update this document.

** If you do not sell apparel, video game software or media, and your items take less than 4 days to ship, then you do not have any changes required at this time. We've already handled all of it for you. You can still review and add data as below but it's simply not required to keep listing.

1. Availability

This field is now required. Our Feed Wizards service was already including this and since we send only orderable products we by default list them as "in stock". The other options allowed in this field are "available for order" (for items that take 4 or more days to ship), "preorder" (for items not yet available but orderable) and "out of stock" (for items you aren't taking orders for).

What do I need to do to load availability?

If you have items that are preorder or that take more than 4 days to order, we can code your feed to show the correct text based on other logic or fields. Or if you simply want us to show based on Yahoo's built in availability field, we can do that. We have a content modifier that will map Yahoo's standard availability options to Google's.

2. Google Product Category

This field is new and is not required except for apparel, media and software (particularly video game software) categories. They may require in the future so we do recommend if possible to include this data. We can load a default, load logic or base this off a custom field. The values are the same as Google's taxonomy used for product_type except you must use an entry from the taxonomy where product type didn't have to.

What do I need to do to load a Google product category?

If you are selling apparel, media or video game software, you will need to load the correct taxonomy entries for those areas. Either load this on a custom property or contact us and we can help you figure out the logic to get the data loaded.

3. Additional Images

Google can now take extra images. This isn't required but if you do have extra image properties (inset, etc) that you want to include, simply let us know the fields and we can help set them up.

4. Apparel item changes

Apparel items for U.S. customers is by far the biggest change. They now require a number of new attributes including gender, age group, size and color and brand is also now required. Gender and Age Group have specific values they accept. Size and Color can be your own values. So you can load these in custom fields or let us know defaults or logic on how to load these on your items.

The biggest challenge is that Google now requires for items that you have variations on your page (i.e. you can select a color, size, pattern or material) you must now include the variations as line items and not as a single item. Each line item must have a distinct product id (we can help create something unique), product code (we can work to get your product codes from catalog manager or make something up) as well as each must be given a group product id (that is the same for all variations of that item), and there must be correct images for each variation. So if you have variations of color or pattern, this can be quite a challenge since they will want a picture of each choice. Size and material may not be a problem since they may not be distinguishable on the image.

So what do I need to do for my apparel items to keep them listing?

Right now you'll want to get in touch with us and we can help you work through the details. If you don't have color options then it is much simpler. If you do it's going to get much more complex. There are lots of possible variations depending on your data but we can help.

Here are some other links from Google on the various changes:

New Google Product Search feed specification
Summary of attribute requirements in table form
New Google Product Search merchant policies
Tips for submitting apparel products
List of changes to feed specification