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Google project could connect you with local handymen, even if you don’t ask for help

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The global giant that is Google could be about to go local in a big way after a report has suggested the company wants to help its users connect more easily with nearby home services, such as plumbers and cleaners. According to a BuzzFeed report, the new product, which is set to be announced by the Web giant in the next couple of months, will be offered via Google Search when users go online to get more information on home-based issues.

The report’s unnamed source suggests the algorithms powering the new product will be geared toward search intent rather than specific requests for a particular local service, which already pull up relevant listings via paid-for ads. In other words, make a cursory inquiry into a problem about home electrics and you’ll more than likely see a bunch of local electricians show up in a box alongside your search results, while an inquiry about making a birthday cake – rather than a specific request for nearby cake makers – should return listings for local bakeries.

To take the service further beyond regular Google searches, it’s believed the company will include a way to quickly connect users with service providers, though at the current time there’s no certainty about how exactly this element of the product will work.

Now, if you’re thinking, “I’m sure I read about something like this just the other day,” then that’s because you probably did (possibly here). Amazon Home Services launched a few weeks ago, an offering not a million miles from what Google is reportedly planning. Home Services is essentially a re-branding of Local Services, though the relaunched business has been rolled out on a much wider scale, to more than 41 cities, with a broad range of services depending on the location.

Amazon Marketplace vice president Peter Faricy told The Verge recently that consumers spend up to four times as much on services as on physical goods via its online store, a statistic that suggests there’s real money to be made, and one that will therefore have been duly noted by the Mountain View company.

Google’s last attempt to connect users with experts in their field ended in failure. Helpouts launched in 2013 and was designed to get people the help or advice they required via qualified experts. However, this particular service was mainly web-based, with interaction taking place via online video chats as opposed to personal visits. Anyway, it seems not enough people used the service, and so it’s closing on April 20.

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