Shopping for something online — especially something big, like a new device or a piece of furniture — can be a little nerve-racking. You might wonder: Is this website legitimate? Will the product look like its picture? Is it safe to share my credit card information?
That’s why we have a number of tools and features in place to make sure you can trust what and who you’re buying from. Let’s look at three ways we help you shop safely on Google.
1. Automation helps us vet quickly and accurately.
Products and merchants go through in-depth safety reviews before they can list on Google. Thanks to the Shopping Graph, our data set of the world’s products and sellers, our systems can quickly review whether a business is legitimate, the products you see are accurate and their content follows our policies. This automated vetting process has helped us more efficiently and accurately review a massive amount of products.
Like any community, we need rules to keep things respectful. Our shopping policies, which cover product listings and shopping ads, outline what is and isn’t permitted on Google, including any products crawled from the web and shown in shopping results. These policies can give you confidence that the product you see is what you’ll get, and that you won’t have to filter through things we don’t allow, like violent weapons, merchants misrepresenting their businesses or hateful content.
In January alone, we stopped over 100 million product offers from being shown and disapproved nearly 300,000 accounts for having quality issues or not following our policies.
2. Store badges and other visual cues point out quality businesses.
For extra reassurance about a merchant, you can look for store badges, which we give to businesses on Google where you may expect a positive shopping experience. Stores who show this badge have earned it by having, for example, fast shipping, easy returns, high quality websites and good user ratings.
We’ll also show you ratings for both an item and its various sellers, so you can learn about other shoppers’ experiences with those products and businesses. And since our product listings bring you right to merchant websites, you can do even more research about a store directly on their site.
3. Our automated and human review teams monitor merchants and listings.
Our safety efforts don’t stop once a product listing goes live. Our automated systems are always monitoring for violating activity, and our team of human reviewers is on standby to review issues that might need a more nuanced perspective.
For example, our systems might pick up that an electronics company has dropped its prices by 70% and removed its shipping information from its website. Or maybe they notice that a merchant that was originally selling sweaters is now listing household appliances. These might be signals for our team to take a closer look at whether something misleading is happening.
Additionally, after they’re onboarded, we keep an eye on merchants and their listings, making sure nothing has suspiciously changed since they first came to Google. For example, if a merchant met country-specific rules for selling alcohol when they onboarded, we’ll check in regularly to make sure those qualifications are still met.
We take different types of actions when we see odd behavior — from removing listings that seem suspicious or violate our policies, to banning a merchant from listing on Google. If you ever see something that doesn’t look right or seems out of sync with our policies, like a super high price or a violent weapon, please report it to us. Look for the “report a listing” link on the bottom right of a product page, or you can report content through our Help Center.
So whether you’re making a big purchase or just browsing, rest assured that we’re working behind the scenes to make sure you’re not only finding what you need, but that you’re staying safe too.