People searching for a plumber or a handyman for repairs around the house will soon be able to use Google Search to find local home services professionals and book appointments with them.
In its continuing effort to be a little bit of everything to everybody, Google has teamed up with online home services marketplace HomeAdvisor of Golden, Colo. Under the arrangement, HomeAdvisor will integrate its online Instant Booking functionality within the business profiles of HomeAdvisor-approved home professionals listed on Google Places.
A "Book Now" option available with each profile will let users set up an appointment with a home services company right from Google's search results. In a statement announcing the partnership, HomeAdvisor describes Instant Booking as a tool launched earlier this year that lets homeowners instantly set up appointments of their choosing with professionals for more than 500 home projects.
In the statement announcing the partnership, HomeAdvisor CEO Chris Terrill said the deal with Google should deliver significant value, not just for Internet users but for local business, as well. "Not only will this make it easier for millions of people searching the Web to instantly schedule appointments with trusted pros, but it will also drive more qualified customers to the small businesses in our marketplace," said Terrill, who pegged the home services market at $25 billon to $30 billion in revenues this year.
HomeAdvisor claims it has the largest network of pre-screened and pre-approved home services professionals among rivals. Some 9 million people have apparently used the service over the past 12 months to find local professionals for various home jobs. According to Home Advisor, home service professionals need to pass criminal and financial background checks before they can be included in its network.
The partnership with HomeAdvisor takes Google deeper into the online home services marketplace. In August 2014, the company led a $100 million investment in Thumbtack, an online company that, like Home Advisor, matches people with professionals for home-related services in more than 700 different categories. At that time, executives from Google Capital described Thumbtack as a service designed to help local businesses and home service professionals find new customers.
Earlier this year, Google also launched a new Home Services Ads service, which like other similar ventures lets users find professionals in a limited set of categories and set up appointments with them, online.
The program, currently in beta in San Francisco, lets qualified, approved local plumbers, locksmiths and handymen take out what Google describes as a home service ad. The ad pops up on the top of Google's search results when people search for professionals in that particular category.
Professionals need to submit to background checks and screens from online services in order to be able to take out a Google home service ad.
This week's partnership with HomeAdvisor means Google now has at least three separate but very similar initiatives in the online home services space. It's unclear how the company plans to differentiate between the different services and how it plans to separate them.
Google did not respond to a request seeking comment on the new partnership with HomeAdvisor.