Delivery tracking feature to be part of Google Search

Posted on December 9, 2019

 

Google is set to allow customers to track packages in the same way as major couriers do, and is inviting interested shipping firms to express their interest in the programme.

In a blog posted last Thursday, the search giant revealed that this will be a global initiative and will be open to all delivery firms with a package tracking system in place, such as XML API or RESTful JSON. The post adds that Google can help businesses set a tracking system up, or reuse one they currently have in place.

According to the eligibility criteria, the only other condition applicants to the early adopters’ programme need to meet is to be either a package deliverer or the sole tracking information provider used by one.

How does it work?

Anyone who regularly buys items online will be familiar with the concept of tracking packages. In most cases, customers will be emailed a code. They can then head to the courier’s site, input the code, and check on its current status. It gives an indication of when they can expect the package, and helps them understand why they might not have received it.

Going by a screenshot provided by Google, the upcoming feature appears very similar to those already in place. Crucially though, customers will be able to track packages directly from Google, without visiting the retailer or deliverer’s website. It also appears that the feature will provide contact and support details for the shipping firm – something they are often reluctant to give due to the administrative drain of queries about the whereabouts of packages.

What does it mean for businesses?

For e-retailers and shipping companies alike, Google’s new feature might well be welcomed, as it could spare them the duty of hosting tracking information on their own site.

One controversy, however, could be that it’s another example of a ‘zero-click search’ on Google. This means companies will no doubt miss out on some of the website traffic they would normally get when customers track packages.

Interested parties can make their interest known here, and Google says participants will be able to provide feedback as the service is rolled out.

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