If they can get the most relevant, most descriptive, and most comprehensive results then eventually users will use it more. After they get enough users what was once free can be charged for, or they can find other ways to make money from it. If many merchants upload similar data it probably makes it even easier to identify and filter commercial data from the organic search results. It won't be long before the organic results are out of reach for most stores, and most merchants are forced into using AdWords if they want to buy exposure. Google has outsourced AdWords training, turned determining relevancy into a game, and wants to be the default product information database.
Google will probably also allow merchants to store inventory data in Google Base, which will only help Google make their results that much more relevant, and help merchants tie their ad spend directly to their current inventory. If Google roughly knows historical search trends, related searches, click value, ad spend, conversion rates, inventory levels, and pricing details they would have to screw it up pretty bad to not be able to make money from transactions that originate through a Google search box.
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