As we explain in the Small Business Guide to the On-Demand Economy, the term on-demand economy refers to the app-enabled marketplaces that match up service-providers with customers in need of those services. Best known among this type of service is Uber, but now there are countless versions of on-demand marketplaces, including those being developed by such online powerhouses as Amazon. Recently, Google rolled out its take on a search-engine enabled on-demand marketplace with a beta test in San Francisco of Google home services ads.

Rumored since Spring 2015, Google is slowly rolling out its version of a home services product to compete in the on-demand economy. Currently being beta tested in San Francisco, the “home services ads” program will be managed through the service provider’s AdWords Express account.

If it sounds like any old on-demand marketplace, it is. Except that it’s integrated into the 800-lb. gorilla of search engines, a major source of prospective customers and providers that all those other home services on-demand startups use.

Search Engine Land recently ran a round-up of quotes from  home services on-demand startup founders  who, as expected, provided lots of whistling past the graveyard responses regarding Google’s home services search—much of which might be true. Google’s been known to come late to the party on many fronts—and never quite figure out what motivates buyers and sellers.

Adapting to the on-demand marketplace

To compete in this marketplace, Google must provide more than merely a means to advertise ones services. As the search giant is taking the additional step into becoming a market-maker, they must include some of the “givens” of the on-demand economy.

For instance, a feature of a typical on-demand startup one might not expect from Google are the inclusion background checks on the service providers that people will be hiring to come into their homes. Addressing this concern, on its site Google says it “screens all applicants and uses a third party to conduct background checks,” If approved, Google will “organize the information you give us into a polished profile page.”

Connecting Service Providers With Service Users

Three potential service providers show up in an advertising section of Google’s search results page when a Google user searches for a local home services provider (plumber, locksmith, janitorial service).

The home services providers (translation: “advertisers”) manage what they are willing to bid for ad placement through AdWords Express.

Users can then contact the business directly or request follow-ups from up to three providers. (See gif, above)

(via: Search Engine Land)

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