Google is about to launch a new product that will help users of its website find local home-service providers such as plumbers and electricians.
Google to enter the home services market
Google apparently has a new product in development that signifies the search giant’s interest in the home-services market, and may indicate a bigger push into that lucrative area.
Sources ‘in the know’ claim that Google’s product will help to connect Google search users with local service providers (i.e. plumbers, electricians, that sort of thing) and will be announced at an advertising conference in the spring.
What will this product look like? Supposedly it’ll simply be integrated into Google search, and so will be able to act on queries about home improvement and issues you might have with your waterworks, for instance.
At the moment, if you search for plumbers, Google returns links to local service providers and AdWord advertisements, but sources claim the new service will go far beyond this and actually connect users with the service providers – it’s not yet clear how this communication will happen, however.
Google has of course been experimenting with connecting search users and businesses for a while. For example, Google Compare allows users to shop for auto insurance: search for “car insurance” and Google shows a box advertising insurance companies and asks users to enter their zip code, which lets them compare the offers directly within Google. It’s expected that Google will offer similar mortgage comparison shopping for the US in the near future.
A huge and expanding industry
The home services industry is huge and expanding quickly, and Google isn’t the only tech giant looking to exploit it. Amazon just launched a new Home Services website (US only right now), which allows Amazon users to search, select and pay for things like car mechanics and landscape gardeners right on the Amazon site.
Amazon also partners with TaskRabbit, a US-based on-demand worker startup. The Internet e-commerce giant is allowing TaskRabbit’s “taskers” and handymen to get access to a huge customer base, who can hire them through the Amazon website.
Since Google handles billions of search requests per day, then if the company can capitalise on even a small percentage of the searches by converting them to paid jobs for the people offering their services, it has the potential to gain momentum in the ‘sharing economy’ market.