Google announced that it has updated its Google Shopping Feed Specification and its Google Product Taxonomy in order to create a "richer" experience for those searching for products online as well as to simplify the process for merchants.
Updates require merchants to change their current product data, and they'll have until September 15 to do so. Here's a list of all the specific updates via the AdWords blog:
Google Shopping Feed Specification
- Units & Quantity attributes are now available for the US
- We tightened guiding principles around the ID Attribute and GTINs
- We disentangled Apparel and Variants attributes and expanded the requirements to Brazil. This revamped section is called: ‘Detailed Product Attributes and Item Groupings’
- We are releasing stable numeric Google Product Category IDs that can also be provided as values for the Google Product Category attribute
- We expanded the Shipping requirements to Switzerland, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, and Japan to enable total price displays to users in these countries
Google Shopping Product Taxonomy
- We simplified many Google Product Taxonomy paths by rolling up a number of categories to their parent nodes
- Most of the categories under Activewear are now included with their non-active counterparts, for example, 'Active Skirts' will now be found under 'Skirts'
- We added more categories to the verticals ‘Food, Beverages & Tobacco’ and ‘Mature’
- Some verticals have undergone significant rework, and you may wish to revisit your provided Google Product Categories
Starting on the date mentioned above, Google will start enforcing the feed specification update other than for shipping. Enforcement of that won't begin until February 1.
The Product Taxonomy changes aren't required. They're just recommended. More on the updates here.