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​Google adding "buy" button to mobile searches

Google continues its push to improve its mobile presence by adding a new feature: an Amazon-like "buy" button.

After recently revamping its mobile search algorithm to bring mobile-friendly sites to the top of smartphone searches, Amazon is now planning to make search a place to shop. According to details obtained by the Wall Street Journal, in the coming weeks, Google will launch a buy button to accompany paid (sponsored) search results.

"What they think is that it's kind of hard on a phone to see something, click on it, go to somebody else's website, shop for something, put in the card," explained CNET's Dan Ackerman.

So Google is essentially cutting out the digital middleman for purchasing products from stores that pay for featured search results. Rather than be directed to the vendor's site, users will be able to go to an interstitial page, select sizes, colors, etc., and check out without leaving Google.

"The store will send it to you, but Google is making the little checkout page, trying to make it very easy for you to actually buy something from your phone," said Ackerman.

Google will also save your credit card and shipping information, so it'll be ready and waiting next time you want to make a purchase, even from a different store.

The Journal reported that Google is in talks with a handful of retailers including Macy's about participating in the initial launch. But some companies, it seemed, are concerned that the shift from Google as a referrer of traffic to a handler of traffic will hurt their relationships with customers -- and interfere with valuable direct marketing campaigns. Google will reportedly allow buyers to opt-in to marketing programs, such as email blasts and catalogues.

Google said earlier this month that for the first time, more Google searches are performed on mobile devices than on personal computers, here and in nine other countries.

  • Amanda Schupak

    Amanda Schupak is the science and technology editor at CBSNews.com