It is no secret that Google is concerned about how it will fare competing against social networking sites like Yelp, Facebook, and Foursquare. Well, the latest effort in this competition comes in the announcement that Google is about to distribute millions – yes millions – of custom mobile devices to small businesses throughout the United States.
What will these devices actually do? Well, for one, they will allow their owners to check in and rate businesses as needed. Some will even allow for easy and direct purchasing power through Google Checkout. Right now, we’re talking about 8 million such devices. That’s a lot of mobile devices!
But don’t get too excited. The 8 million estimate is still just a rumor, so the number could be less (or more!)
Market check ins and reviews can be a very lucrative business, and Google is certainly aware of this. Just take a look at Facebook and Foursquare, as well as all the reviews on sites like Yelp. The amount of money that people spend on things like the gym, happy hour, gas, dry cleaners, haircuts, and so forth is the main incentive here. These types of services comprise a huge percentage of the nation’s overall spending, and online services want a piece of the action.
Online services aren’t the only ones that want a piece though – so does Google.
While everything is still just in the rumor phase, we do believe that the main goal of issuing free mobile devices is to let customers check into various businesses, leave reviews (good and bad) and make purchases. And although we “hear” that these devices will be given away for free, we don’t yet know to whom exactly, or if Google will eventually begin to charge the recipients.
As we learn more, you better believe we’ll keep you posted. Have you heard anything?
Source – techcrunch.com