Shopping is hard enough as it is. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: The reason men don’t get quite as excited about buying clothes as our female counterparts comes down to information — we need options, often easy ones, to make the right decisions. And the Internet doesn’t have a lot of easy options, which is why men aren’t currently going quite as crazy hunting for Black Friday deals, nor do many of us even know what that “Cyber Monday” exists.
Which is also why we got excited to wake up this morning to an e-mail from Google, the Internet’s kingmaker of simplicity in the information overload, about… fashion. Boutiques.com, we were told, “uses computer vision and machine learning technology to visually analyze your taste and match it to items you would like.” Sounds nerdy, but totally brilliant, which is basically why The Times’ Cathy Horyn gave Google’s new e-commerce site the rave review we read on the train this morning.
And then we logged in. Google’s machine learning asks for Your Boutique Preferences, followed by not one but a dozen pictures of…. wait, this is only for women? Now, we understand, ladies love to shop online, and for our half of the species, well, it’s kind of a pain in the ass right now. But as Michael Williams over at A Continuous Lean lamented the other day, guys want to shop online, and there’s a missed opportunity in having fantastically curated clothing sites that are more or less “deliberately designed to repel men.”
A Google spokesman told The Style Blog this morning that the company had “no other specifics to share at this time” beyond its blog-post announcement that right now “Boutiques is only available in the U.S. and only for women’s fashion, but we plan to expand in the future.” Well, men might as well start making their voices be heard. There will be other sites — good ones, without repellants — but this Google thing is going to be a big deal, and it’s going to get better. Tell them you want a whizbang, mind-reading fashion site of your own — or at least a tab on there somewhere. In the meantime, Gilt Man has some nice shirts on sale today.
Maybe I’ve been in New York for too long, but most men I know are interested in fashion, and shop extensively online, and care quite a bit about how they look. I realize Google is operating out of t-shirt-and-flip-flop land in Palo Alto, but this is a pretty big misstep (and missed opportunity). I’ve been playing on Boutiques all morning, and dudes, you are missing out. Rise up!