Google is testing a way for the new tab page on Chrome to display shopping advertisement cards based on users’ search history and preference. The feature is currently hidden under a flag called ‘NTP Shopping Tasks Module’ (spotted by Techdows) in Chrome Canary which can be enabled from chrome://flags. The flag provides users the ability to even enable recommendations based on fake data for representational purposes.
The shopping card lets Google serve tailored suggestions right in the new tab page, making it easy for users to either pick up on recent product searches or related items. The firm also allows users to access their activity and tweak recent data stored in the ‘My Activity’ page by clicking on the “i” icon in the card. While the feature is still in development, it will not be surprising if the firm makes it an opt-in experience.
Clicking on any of the products in the card redirects users to a search results page for that product with retailer and pricing options, just like on Google Search. The experience for users that prefer new tab page personalization through third-party extensions might vary. The firm is also working to add recipe cards and content from Kaleidoscope, flags for which are also present in the experimental features section in Chrome Canary.
The integration of shopping features into the new tab page of one of the most popular web browsers could help Google further expand its Search and marketplace offerings into its services, making them easily accessible and prominent. The feature might also be aimed at rivaling the recent Facebook Shop and Instagram Shop offerings being introduced by the social networking giant.
Update: A Google spokesperson reached out to clarify that the experiment displays "free product listings" only and does not include any paid ads. Here is the complete statement:
We’d like to clarify that this experiment is displaying free product listings, not ads. We regularly test new features of this kind to help users with tasks like shopping and more.