Google is starting to make it easier to find plumbers, locksmiths, cleaners, and other home service workers. It's rolling out a new type of search ad today that'll place listings for these services at the top of relevant search result pages, although only around the San Francisco Bay Area for now. The listings include a phone number for the business, customer ratings, basic details on their services, and a photo of someone who represents the company. The idea is that you can now just search for "lock repair" and immediately get a locksmith's number, rather than having to look through search results — or, you know, turn to another competitor like Amazon.
But keep in mind that these aren't people working for Google, nor are they necessarily recommended by Google: these are paid ads for local companies. That said, Google does have a slight hand in curation here. Google requires that every company go through background checks, get properly licensed, and obtain insurance, according to The Wall Street Journal. Google will also use mystery shoppers to check in on their performance. The ads are only open to plumbers, locksmiths, cleaners, and handyworkers for now — and again, only in the San Francisco Bay Area — but this is also just the start of what appears to be a much larger effort from Google to compete with the many tech companies already in this space.
Our own test, above, returned two results without customer ratings.