New Google Product Feed Requirement

This info may be redundant to some of you who regularly update your Google product feeds, but I thought I'd share it with the rest of the community (for those of you who haven't visited your Google feed for some time now).

Google is implementing some new “required attributes” starting on September 22, 2011.

Here is a link to the announcement.

Here is a link to the new feed specifications.

I wanted everyone to be aware of this now, if not already, since applying global attribute changes can be quite time consuming, and Google is one of the best “free” product search engines out there. Losing your feed for any length of time could be detrimental to your sales.

From my review of the material it looks like the biggest new “required” attributes would be the “Availability” attribute, the “Google Product Category” attribute (though this one appears to be geared more towards apparel stores), and the “Condition” attribute. I honestly don't see the 2nd one lasting very long, as every store uses its own Taxonomy and placement structure, but I could be wrong.

I'm curious to see how some of you are going about implementing these changes, and if any 3rd party mods are necessary. I doubt a CS-Cart fix for this will be implemented by Google's go-live date.

Anyways, hope this info helps someone out!

I'm implementing these changes through “product features” and then syncing the exported feed with those new variables. The time consuming part is getting every product labeled correctly with the new product features, and that is why I thought I'd alert other CS-Cart users to these new requirements.

Quick update to this thread:

Google is implementing the “Availability” attribute so that you can label products as either In Stock or Out of Stock. That way you do not need to disable Out of Stock products when you export your feeds. Apparently Google thinks it is best to let customer know that you “sometimes” have the product in stock, but not at the moment.

I do not like this at all. I would much rather disable a product than sell 100 of something that is Out of Stock, and then have to email each customer with an anticipated delivery date. Most of the time these orders get cancelled.

I'm currently labeling each of my products as “In Stock” and then disabling the “Out of Stock” products so they are not included in the export.

Actually, none of these attributes are new at all with the exception of the g:google_product_category (which is essentially the existing g:product_type field). That Google is now requiring them is a different story. But the attributes themselves are certainly not new (other than the noted exception) and all have all been supported in my XML Data Feeds addon since it was first released a year ago. The upcoming version (2.1.18) of the XML Data Feeds addon will support the g:google_product_category. Also considering adding the ability to have a separate feed for each language/currency combination…