Need a plumber or a locksmith? Google might be your new best friend. Yesterday, Google began rolling out a search feature that displays listings for qualified home service providers when you search for telling phrases, for instance, "clogged toilet".
The new feature, which so far includes plumbers, handymen, locksmiths and house cleaners, offers a phone number for the local business, customer ratings and some basic service information. The service is part of Google's AdWords Express, a program that allows qualified service providers to pay Google to be ranked among the top search results. Basically, these are paid ads, hopefully tailored to your floor cleaning, de-clogging and un-locking needs.
This could be pretty useful if you're the type of person who likes to get information in as few clicks as possible — and that's exactly the point. By simplifying the process of connecting clients with service providers, Google hopes to keep more of its users from turning to competitors like Amazon. But the ad service has only been rolled out in San Francisco and the Bay Area for now, so if you live anywhere else in the world you'll have to suffer the mild inconvenience of combing through search results a little bit longer.