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Watch your back, Amazon: Google coughs $125m for 'shopping engine' firm

Buy-up of Channel Intelligence suggests new focus on retail

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Google have bought inventory tracking software company Channel Intelligence for a hefty $125m.

Its owner, ICG Group, announced the cash buy-up from Google today. The parent company said that Channel Intelligence's "Boost services", which help its clients to track transactions online and drive their referred sales, include: Facebook Platform, Where-to-Buy, Product Search Engines and Shopping Engine solutions.

Google says it wants to "improve shopping experience" with the buy, and it's likely the acquisition will work Google deeper into the mechanics of online sales.

Channel Intelligence is a Software as a Service company that handles product information online, using it to improve search and to increase sales.

The software company has worked with Google before, collaborating on Google Shopping, Google's product search-'n'-buy service. In Google Shopping, Channel Intelligence software pulls in data from retailers about their products to improve the accuracy of searches and the effectiveness of adverts.

A Google spokesperson said:

We want to help consumers save time and money by improving the online shopping experience. We think Channel Intelligence will help create a better shopping experience for users and help merchants increase sales across the web.

It's Amazon that should be looking over its shoulder with this one; Google's dominant web position makes it one of the few players capable of disrupting Amazon in online retail. And the Chocolate Factory's big outlay for Channel Intelligence shows that Google is serious about the online shopping trolley.>

Channel Intelligence inc is owned by two venture capital groups ICG Group and Aweida Capital Management. ICG owns a portfolio of businesses in the Software as a Service (SaaS) game, including the complex workflow management area. ®

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