Google Now Offers Catalog Searches
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Google, which claims "the largest index of websites available on the World Wide Web and the industry's most advanced search technology," has added the ability to index and search files in the Adobe PDF file format. Currently, the Google index contains over 13 million PDF documents which can be returned as part of a user's Google search.

Most other major search engines have do not index PDF documents because they are more complex than the HTML documents that make up most of the World Wide Web.

This marks a significant advance in searching the & Google has made online shopping even easier with the addition to its index of nearly 700 fully searchable catalogs ranging from L.L. Bean and AKA Gourmet to Computer Discount Warehouse and Allergy and Asthma Guide .

"Google has made it easy to find information published in mail-order catalogs that were not previously available online," the company says on its catalogs help page. "Our exclusive Google Catalog Search includes the full content of hundreds of mail-order catalogs selling everything from industrial adhesives to clothing and home furnishings."

Google has scanned printed copies of the catalogs and converted the text portion to a format that can be searched. The powerful Google search engine then makes all of these catalogs' information instantly accessible and fully searchable via the minimalist Google interface.

A search for "men's blue sweater" returned 105 results from catalogs as diverse as the Land's End Holiday guide to an out-of-date November 2001 Macy's sale circular. The search results include pictures of the items from the catalog, text descriptions of the item (with the search terms highlighted), prices and information on how to contact the catalog to order the merchandise.

Google has also developed a custom tool bar at the bottom of displayed catalog results. The tool bar features forward and back arrows so users can browse through the catalog to see what items come before and/or after the item they searched for in the print catalog, as well as options to view the individual catalogs in a one-, two-, or multiple-pages per screen format.

To read more about recent additions to Google's functionality, see these articles:

 

 

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