Google’s quest to sign the world’s businesses up to websites stepped into the big time this week with the launch of America, Get Your Business Online.
An interesting aspect with the rollout of the various programs has been Google’s choice of partners — in Britain the key supporter was the incumbent telecommunication company BT.
For some reason the subsequent programs have chosen to partner with accounting software companies and small business groups. The US program is no exception.
These partnerships are interesting as the software companies involved are threatened by online cloud services — both Intuit and MYOB have their business models of selling boxed software to small businesses under siege.
While Google regularly cite the Boston Consulting Group’s survey on the importance of websites to business, it seems most small operators don’t care as about half of small businesses don’t care about an online presence most developed countries.
In Australia, the Getting Aussie Business Online fell short of its 50,000 sign up target which indicates smaller enterprises still don’t see the point.
They may be right — for the local locksmith or lawn mowing service a Google Places account may be all they need rather than a relatively high maintenance website.
Part of the problem is that small business proprietors are probably the most time poor people on the planet, so filling in another set of forms is one of the last things they will do.
Were Google to link Google + for Business to their other services so information wasn’t being duplicated there would be a far quicker and greater take up of their services.
America, Get Your Business Online should be a useful service for some local enterprises but the real challenge for Google is to integrate their services to make it easier for smaller operations to use.