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After Homejoy Hires, Google Plods Into Home Services Market With New Test Ads

Starting with ads for plumbers and locksmiths, though more are coming this summer.


Locked out or plugged up? Google can help.

The search giant is testing out new paid search listings for professional services, starting with plumbers and locksmiths in San Francisco. Earlier, if you queried for one of them, Google’s page produced a trio of sponsored links followed by organic listings, primarily from rival Yelp. Now, do the same search and the organic results are topped off with three paid links to “qualified professionals.”

Those links summon a tailored Google page with information similar to its local listings results (hours, phone number) along with new stuff — namely, the contractor’s background check, insurance and license information. Google partnered with a third-party risk management and security company for the credentialing, explained here.

Google screenshot

It’s just on desktop, not mobile, for now. The feature is akin to Google Compare, which bakes services like auto insurance and hotel bookings directly into search. With its new ads, Google makes yet another foray into a market crowded with public companies, such as Yelp, and startups, such as the Google Capital-backed Thumbtack.

BuzzFeed reported back in April that the service from Google was in the works. Two weeks ago, Re/code reported that Google had scooped up around 20 engineers from Homejoy, the startup that tied home cleaning workers to consumers, after it went defunct following worker classification lawsuits.

Google expects to tack on additional professional services categories in San Francisco later this summer, per a source familiar with the company.

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