Google Inc. (GOOG: Quote) would once again try to tap the local business advertising market and plans to launch its small-business service as early as next month, The Wall Street Journal reported, quoting a person familiar with the matter.
The search engine giant is combining many products and services under a single banner targeting the $20 billion market for small businesses. The project includes a combination of software developed inside the company as well as acquired technologies.
Google's social network Google+ will be an integral part of this project. Consumers can use this to interact with local businesses having special web pages on the network. These pages will draw traffic from the web-search engine.
Google wants shoppers visiting such businesses to use their Internet-enabled phones like a digital wallet, which will earn loyalty points and make payments at stores that sign up for the new services.
At the same time, Google expects these businesses to use their Google+ pages to interact with customers and eventually get them to use other Google products.
Google has spent nearly half a billion dollars since early last year to buy around half a dozen companies. Some of these acquisitions may be joined with certain of the existing products to cater to the needs of the local businesses.
Acquisitions such as that of TalkBin and Punchd may be put to use as part of these efforts. While TalkBin lets customers send anonymous text messages to a store's manager Punchd is a smartphone-based loyalty rewards program.
Meanwhile, the company also plans to promote a program called AdWords Express, which has been on for about a year. According to the company, the program is a faster and simpler way to start advertising online in under five minutes.
Last week, the company launched Google+ Local, "a simple way to discover and share local information featuring Zagat scores and recommendations from people you trust in Google+." It is integrated into Search, Maps and mobile and available as a new tab in Google+.
The stock closed on Friday lower by 1.70 percent at $570.98 on a volume of 3.06 million shares.
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by RTT Staff Writer
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