Google today announced it is bringing its new Google Shopping experience to Australia, Brazil, Germany, France, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, and the UK. The new version will be rolling out gradually to give merchants some transition time and let them optimize their campaigns.

The first major change (cleaner results for shopping queries and Sponsored results) will take place on February 13, 2013. These new queries, which will let shoppers refine a search by brand or price and will feature larger product images, are available on a small percentage of searches starting today. Google is hoping to complete the rollout with all the changes intact by the end of Q2 2013.

If you’re sitting there scratching your head, let me explain. Yes, Google Shopping is available internationally already, but it was a very basic product search service (in fact, it was formerly called Google Product Search). What we’re talking about here is the company’s commercial model, built on Product Listing Ads, which tweaks the ranking in Google Shopping to be based on a combination of relevance and bid price, as well as throws in a few actually useful features.

Back in May, Google announced a new service that lets shoppers research products better, compare them based on features and prices, and connect with merchants to make their purchase. In other words, what a shopping service should do in the first place. This new model fully launched in the US on October 17, and now the company is pushing it out to the rest of the world.

Why did Google make the change? Here’s what the company says:

We made this transition because we believe that having a commercial relationship with merchants will lead to better, more up to date product data — which will mean better shopping results for users and in turn, higher quality traffic for merchants. We think this will bring the same high-quality shopping experience to people — and positive results to merchants – around the world.

In other words, Google Product Search sucked and the company was getting trampled by the competition (not to mention the lawsuits). Now Google claims to have come up with something that benefits both shoppers (products in one convenient place where they can compare and check out reviews) and merchants (advertisers get more granular control over product listings and traffic). Oh, and Google gets to make more money, of course.

See also – Google Shopping gets social with Google+ integration for reading and writing reviews and Google testing same-day delivery service, taking on Amazon, others

Image credit: Annie Mae