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Google to let you buy products through mobile search, report says

The search giant is reportedly adding a "buy" button to some search results on its smartphone app -- in an effort to keep users from going to competing services.

Google will reportedly add buy buttons to some sponsored search results.
Google will reportedly add buy buttons to some sponsored search results. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Google wants to make it easier for you to buy things when you search from your phone.

The search giant is getting ready to add "buy" buttons to some search results on its mobile app, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal.

The feature will be added in the coming weeks, and will be applied only to some sponsored search results, which a company pays for. It will not be applied to "organic" search results, which are generated by Google's algorithms. Potential retail partners could include Macy's.

If users tap on the buy button, they're taken to a Google product page where they can complete the purchases and sort through details like color selection and size for clothes.

Google declined to comment.

The move underscores Google's growing competition with e-commerce giants like Amazon and eBay. It's also the latest example of Google stretching the bounds of its search engine to include more services than just providing links to other sites. Over the last year, the search giant has built in other features, including car insurance comparisons.

The news also points to Google's effort to keep users from going to competitors while on mobile phones. Though Google dominates the search business on desktop computers, it's not as untouchable on phones. Google still leads the market in mobile search revenue, but smartphone users also tend to go to specific apps -- like Amazon or local business company Yelp -- when searching for things on their phones.

Google, however, said earlier this month that searches on mobile devices outnumber searches on desktop computers in 10 countries, including the United States and Japan.

For the Google service, the company will let users store credit card information, so they don't have to input it again for future purchases. But the company won't share payment details with retailers, according to the Journal. To quell the concerns of retailers who might fear losing their relationship with customers, Google's shopping service will still let customers opt in to brands' marketing programs. So if a customer decides to join, say, a Macy's email list, the company would still get that person's data.