User experience testing
If the search leader finds that its seal of approval is beneficial to the experience of users, it may be applied more widely. This would mean that prospective online customers could discern which businesses are deemed by Google to provide an excellent service - and, by extension, those which are not.
"As part of the Google Trusted Stores program, we're currently conducting a test with a small set of advertisers to help users identify online merchants that offer a great shopping experience," Google said in a statement.
Trusted Stores badges reveal the best retailers
"In our ongoing efforts to provide ads that are useful and relevant for users, we're experimenting with different ways to communicate information about the quality of the shopping experience for a particular advertiser in the search ad itself."
Trusted Stores, an e-commerce certification programme, was launched by Google in October 2011. Web retailers can be considered for inclusion if they supply a range of data to Google, proving a track record of timely shipping processes and reliable customer service practices. If the business does not have a history of resolving issues quickly, it is unlikely to receive approval.
Al Mackin, CEO at theEword, said: "As a rule, internet users value ratings systems very highly and they are often much more likely to opt for a product or service online if it has strong positive feedback from previous users. Google's Trusted Stores concept takes that even further, acting almost as an industry standard - and, as it's based on data research rather than individual experiences, it is not subject to the same fraudulent review risks."