Google launched its new venture called Boutiques.com without much fanfare but the project could herald a new era where the search engine becomes a more active (and aggressive) partner and co-opetitor.
Boutiques.com is an evolution of the existing Product Search (formerly known as Froggle) which is a giant database of products pulled together by vendors themselves and by the army of Google spiders and bots.
Product Search acts as the equivalent of a price comparison website and has been keen over the past few years to emphasise the fact that it won't charge vendors to get their products listed in the giant catalogue.
However, Google's latest project may herald an abrupt change in strategy from the search giant and Boutiques.com contains many clues as to where it might go next.
Firstly, the layout and general look of the site looks like no other Google-branded websites; indeed, it is difficult to believe that this is indeed a Google website.
It is sleek, beautifully crafted and most important of all, doesn't contain Google's Logo. The team of crack engineers brought together by Google aimed at making of Boutiques.com the equivalent of your own personal shopper.
One that they say, will create your own "curated" boutique; this is done either though machine learning and computer vision or through the input of taste-makers (or shall we say trend setters).
It's interesting to note that Google uses the terms "curated" and "hand-curated" to define the process of "filtering out" content either through AI or through human experience.
They've already said that they plan to expand the offering in the future, moving to other non-US market, catering for a much bigger audience and critically, getting involved in many other segments as well (grocery, home decoration etc).
By doing so, Google will be coming into direct competition with the likes of Amazon, Ebay, Pricegrabber, Shopping.com and a wealth of many other price aggregators and comparison websites.