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Enforcement of New Google Shopping Feed Specifications Begining July 2013

Google has announced some changes to the Google Shopping Feed Specification that include:

Google Shopping commercial model built on Product Listing Ads is currently available both in the United States and globally.

  • “improved support for merchant-defined multipacks. The feed specification now clarifies how such products should be submitted.
  • new high-resolution displays. “Therefore, we are also starting to recommend higher-quality images with at least 800 pixels in height and width to give users a better visual representation of advertised products,” informs Google.
  • Google introduces ‘identifier exists’ attribute for products like custom goods, vintage items, or collectibles that don’t have unique product identifiers. Additionally, requirements on unique product identifiers is also updated.
  • updated guidance for the description and color attributes to make them more precise and actionable.
  • dedicated support for energy efficiency labels and unit pricing for merchants targeting countries in the European Union and Switzerland.
  • Merchants promoting non-family safe items on family-safe websites can now tag individual items as non-family safe,” informs Google.

Google notes that for accounts that are currently exempted from requiring unique product identifiers, “Google Shopping will start enforcing these new requirements for unique product identifiers on July 15th, 2013 in the US, and September 16th, 2013 in all other target countries.”

While the enforcement for all other accounts will start July 15th, 2013 for the US, France, Germany and the United Kingdom, and Sep 16th, 2013 for all other target countries.

“Non-compliant items might then be disapproved and disappear from Google Shopping. Account level exemptions for unique product identifiers won’t be supported after the above mentioned dates – the ‘identifier exists’ attribute should be used instead,” Google added.

Merchants can review the new feed specifications and a summary of attribute requirements to help prepare for these changes. And, they should make sure to comply with legal requirements while participating in the Google Shopping program.

However, some of these changes won’t be visible to Google Shopping users immediately–as Google says it want to give merchants enough time for preparation and adoption. Meanwhile, merchants are advised to use the test feeds feature or the feed debugger to ensure that their updated feeds can be processed correctly.

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