More Changes to Google Product Search Feed Submissions

Google is once again making changes to their Google Product Search Feed Specifications for ecommerce merchants. In a recent blog post, Google states the latest changes are going to become “law” on September 22, 2011.

Google’s blog post has a good overview of the changes, but I thought I’d take a detailed look at the actual requirements so merchants can update their feeds to be in compliance…


This is becoming a required attribute for *every* product. Google’s Products Feed Specification page goes into detail, but here are the important parts for this attribute:

availability – Availability status of the item
4 accepted values:
in stock – ships in 3 days or less.
available for order – ships in 4 or more days.
out of stock – not accepting orders for this product
preorder – You are taking orders for this product, but it’s not yet been released.

For ShopSite merchants, you may use an Extra Product Field, label it “availability” (Preferences -> Extra Fields Configuration), and then include the appropriate value from the list above. For most items, it’s probably going to be “in stock”, so you can poweredit all products and set this extra product field to this value.

(Or wait for ShopSite to release a new version that will likely incorporate this new field.)

Google Product Category (only for some)

This new attribute only applies to products that are:
Apparel and Accessories

If some of your products fall into this bin, then you will need to include an attribute named “google_product_category” and give it the proper Taxonomy label as defined in Google’s product taxonomy.


If some of your products are Apparel, Google has additional requirements:
Age Group
Color – Clothing/Shoes, US only
Size – Clothing/Shoes, US only

For Gender, the attribute name is “gender”, and accepted values are:

For Age Group, the attribute name is “age_group”, and accepted values are:

For Color, the attribute name is “color”, and accepted values are any color name that describes the dominant color of the item. If multiple colors, separate them with a slash “/”, listing the dominant color first.

For Size, the attribute name is “size”, and accepted values are those which are most appropriate for the item.

*** NOTE: Google has very specific formatting requirements for Variant product submissions. If you are a ShopSite merchant, you cannot simply add an extra product field to meet this requirement if your Clothing/Shoes use ordering options in ShopSite. This will likely require ShopSite to build in support for this format for Apparel related items in a future release.

These are some sweeping changes being implemented by Google. I do not think Google has given software developers enough time to make these large alterations to feed submissions, especially for Apparel related merchandise. We’ll see if Google backs off this September deadline or relaxes the requirements. More likely, Google will forge ahead as the big gorilla in the room, forcing merchants and ecommerce applications to scramble trying to cross all the t’s…

Looking for a web host that understands ecommerce and business hosting?
Check us out today!


  1. It has been hard updating each item to meet their needs. I do hope you come out with the upgrade to add the in-stock feature to each item, if I have to do each manually, will go bonkers~

    • ShopSite is aware of the recent changes, and will hopefully release an update to help merchants handle these new rules set forth by Google.

      You can PowerEdit all products initially and set them all to “in stock” globally, and then make changes from there to save typing each one individually.

  2. Larry Bohen says:

    Aside from adding availability status to each of our 10K+ products, a much larger implication for us is whether to stock all 10K+ products. We rely on our distributors / publishers for direct shipping much of our orders.

    I suspect Google’s “in stock” value expects that a product is actually in our stock, not our distributor’s / publisher’s stock.

    Currently we are NOT integrated, nor is it likely to happen anytime soon, with our distributors / publishers real-time inventory.

    I am curious how other online merchants of 1000s of products are managing Google’s new values particularly “in stock” and “available to order.”

Leave a Reply to Larry Bohen