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|Catalogs (Search and Browse Mail-Order Catalogs)|
After acquiring a fancy scanner, Larry Page, co-founder of Google, encouraged engineers to come up with a search service that would take advantage of its speed and flexibility. Lauren Baptist started by developing a service around mail-order catalogs because they posed the least copyright issues. Some vendors have better pictures in their catalogs than on the websites. Now you can throw out your mail-order catalogs and browse or search for their contents online, even if the company hasn't listed them on the web. Visit catalogs.google.com. But, if you don't have a high speed connection, the catalog pages load slowwwwwly.
Google tries a lot of things. Some projects succeed and are supported; others fade away. As of this writing (late 2005), Google Catalogs seems to be one that may fade away. For instance, most catalogs in the Computer category are from 2002 or 2003 — an eternity in that fast-paced market.
Another interesting point about a not-so-developed service like Catalogs is that not all search features may be supported. For instance, searching by price with the numeric range operator, like $250..$1000, would be useful in a catalog search. But that operator was developed after Catalogs, which may explain why it doesn't work.
Still, the service is interesting — and some of the catalogs are fairly up-to-date. Since IKEA gives out their catalogs sparingly, check out their catalog online.
Like Froogle, Catalogs doesn't sell things. Instead, use this service to browse and/or search print page catalogs. For example, search for a sun hat.
As with other Google services, the Advanced Catalog Search gives you more search choices. Advanced search lets you choose the latest issue of a catalog or all issues. You can also name a certain merchant
For more information on Google Catalogs visit catalogs.google.com/googlecatalogs/help.html.
This page was last modified on Friday February 17, 2006.
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