Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Style File: Those Old Page-Turners, Now iPad-Accessible

Style File
Those Old Page-Turners, Now iPad-Accessible
Aug 16th 2011, 13:00

It seems almost hard to remember now, but long before the advent of e-commerce, customers farther than a stone’s throw from their nearest boutique could shop remotely, too, via those hoary booklets known as catalogs. They’ve got a noble history—in fact, they’ve been in circulation for over a century—but in the digital age, they’re not the mainstays they once were.

But the latest app from Google may help bring them back to the fore. Google Catalogs launches today, and brings the mailbag to the iPad—instantly, easily, conveniently, and, friends of the environment will note, greenly. (No physical catalogs means no wasted paper.) Fifty vendors have signed up for the new app at its launch, including fashion mainstays like Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdale’s, and Macy’s. (Home and beauty stores like Sephora, Bare Escentuals, Anthropologie, and Williams-Sonoma are included, too, and more catalogs will be added going forward.)

The catalogs are facsimiles of the print versions, but their digitized forms are enriched with click-to-buy functionality and added content, like embedded videos and behind-the-scenes content. Users can also share content with friends, create collages of their favorite catalog products, and search for brands and items across multiple catalogs. An upcoming integration with Google’s social network, Google+, will allow more even more connection between customers, and new product categories are in the works as well.

Google Catalogs is available now at www.google.com/catalogs.

—Matthew Schneier

Photo: Google Catalogs

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