Google is bringing new forms of local search to the Google Assistant and Google Home. The company announced it’s working with local home service providers “like HomeAdvisor and Porch.”
On any platform where Google Assistant is available, users will be able to ask for contractors (e.g., “Ok Google find me a plumber”). That initiates a structured interaction which generates a lead or contact with a local service provider.
In the case of IAC-owned HomeAdvisor, which now also owns Angie’s List, users can ask to be connected by phone at the end of the process to a contractor or receive a list of relevant, pre-screened contractors. The following graphic depicts part of the user experience and the structured Q&A that’s used to refine the lead.
This is a highly structured local search and lead-generation experience that will bypass conventional search results (i.e., business listings). Google said the new functionality would be rolling out in the next week or so.
Google itself offers local lead generation for contractors and service providers with Local Services ads that appear in search results. What’s unclear is how providers from HomeAdvisor, Porch (and perhaps Google) will be prioritized or presented for a given query.
In its blog post, Google didn’t say anything about its own advertisers or how many third-party directories might eventually be involved. There’s also no word on whether Google will collect a share of the lead price or any sort of “toll” otherwise.
Currently, if you ask Google Home for a local service provider (e.g., “I need a house painter”) you’ll get three “thin” listings with address information but little else. The coming experience will supplant that, offering a more personalized result based the specific request and subsequent information provided.
Because it’s not yet live, we don’t know how well it will work. It has the potential to be effective both for the consumer and the contractor. Generally speaking, this is going to be bottom-of-the-funnel activity.