Google is trying its hardest to be the one stop shop for all your Internet searching needs and it’s just thrown a right cross at Yelp, Angie’s List and other home services websites. Now when you do a Google search for things like “fix alternator” “repair window” or “clogged drain” Google will give you local businesses who specialize in those services. The service is part of AdWords Express where local businesses pay Google to be put at the top of search results based on location of the user. In theory this would help local businesses get more customers through Google search.
According to a Google spokesperson, services are so far available for plumbers, handymen, locksmiths and house cleaners – terms that customers enter millions of times a day in the Google search bar. In order to qualify, participating small businesses must undergo procedures such as license, insurance and background checks as well as mystery shopping.
The advantage Google has over other services such as Yelp, Amazon and Angie’s List is the user can search and connect with local businesses direct from Google and never leave Google search minimizing the users navigation. The service should be helpful to a large majority of users considering Google search is the most used search engine in the world. But that also brings into play whether or not Google is favoring its own services yet again. In the past Yelp has complained that Google was pushing its own search results above theirs even when Yelp’s results were more helpful. Google home services could ignite this debate once again arguing that Google is muscling out the competition with its strategic advantage.
While the home services that Google will be pushing to the top of search results aren’t necessarily Google’s services, Google was paid to push them to the top leaving other services lower on the totem pole. It’s an interesting debate and one that is likely to get more heated here in the near future. For now Google’s new home services search results is rolling out in San Francisco and no word on when we’ll see it elsewhere.
What do you think of Google home services search? Let us know in the comments below or on Google+, Facebook and Twitter.Source: WSJ