Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) will now offer sponsored home service providers like plumbers, electricians and others in local search results. The new service rolled out on Friday, in and around San Francisco, competing with companies like Amazon Inc., Yelp Inc., Angie’s List Inc., and Task Rabbit.
Recently, after the closure of Homejoy, it was reported that its employees could have helped Google to develop home services, The service was developed by its advertising technology team, a part of Google paid app for businesses called AdWords Express. Servicemen have to pay for highlighting them in the search results, and are connected with the users, after being qualified by Google.
A Google spokesperson said that the services are available for plumbers, locksmiths and house cleaners. In order to qualify, small businesses should undergo procedures like background checks, license, insurance and mystery shopping. Customers can contact the service provider directly and send multiple requests from the results page. The user will not have to leave the website, a unique feature when compared with other home service providers.
With this feature, Google enters the home services market along with Yelp and others. Google’s Home Services result will now appear above Yelp reviews on the search page. In March, Amazon launched a similar service, serving as a middleman, and taking a cut of 10% to 20% based on the type of service. In 2011, Angie’s List reported that market for local services including remodelling and pest services totaled about $400 billion.
Google has added features like customer reviews and feedback, where users can give them either through the phone or website. Though startups like pro.com and porch.com are eyeing the market, it would be a tough battle against Amazon and Google. Startup Homejoy, operated in 35 cities, but it closed down due to “many unsolved challenges in the home services space.”