Google is getting into the local services game after it announced it will be releasing technology to match local professionals to customers for services in all aspects of home maintenance. Customers will have access to services for lawn mowing, painting, plumbing, cleaning, etc. Google announced that they will be using some of the technical talent that developed by Homejoy, a company google recently acquired that allows users to connect with local cleaning professionals, but current plans for the site are to discontinue business as of July 31, 2015. This move by Homejoy is part of the push by Google towards.
The venture capital arm of Google known as Google Ventures, had previously contributed to Homejoy’s $40 million in funding. The details are not concrete yet, but there is suspicion that the talent from Homejoy will be used in a new Google search feature. Google has made similar moves in the past, having released comparative services for air travel and hospitality. They are also looking to develop a mortgage comparison feature.
Combining all these capabilities with Google Wallet could be the end goal, such that customers only enter payment information one time and have access to a multitude of services. Google Wallet is the company’s current mobile payment system. With mobile searches now outnumbering those on desktops, this strategy makes sense. Some of the upside for Google would be from taking a small fee for each transaction from the service or product to which Google is connecting the customer.
Similar efforts in this market are under works by Pinterest and Amazon. One of Google’s current partners in this area is Delivery.com. CEO of Delivery.com, Jed Kleckner, sees Google as a means to “close the last mile” in the transaction process. To that effect, he doesn’t see Google as cannibalizing sales from their online presence. Instead, he views the actions by Google as a validation of this type of industry.