Google on Thursday announced multiple initiatives to support small businesses across India including the expansion of Nearby Stores feature. According to Google, the company has “consistently invested in programs and solutions that remove the barriers that come in the way of small and medium businesses benefitting from the Internet.” However, Google said that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdowns have increased the need for many small and medium businesses to switch to digital platforms “to minimise the disruption.” The company in a release provided an update on its programs that Google said would aid the small businesses “make the transition to the digital economy.”
Google Set to Introduce Loan Offerings for Businesses, Expands Nearby Stores Features
Google said that Google Pay for Business has now over three million businesses onboard its app. The company said that the businesses can soon avail loans within the Google Pay for Business app as Google is working with its financial institution partners to “soon” introduce the feature.
“We’re also working with our partner financial institutions to surface their loan offerings for merchants, which can be availed right within Google Pay for Business app, something that is especially pertinent in these uncertain times,” Google said in a release. “We will make this offering live soon.”
The company said that the features on Google Pay including video verification enables small businesses to seamlessly adopt digital payments platforms.
Meanwhile, Google said that the Nearby Stores, a feature that enables local businesses to get discovered on Google Maps will be expanded across India.
“Additionally, merchant establishments can indicate their business hours, whether social distancing measures are in place at the store and the essential goods presently in stock,” Google said in the release.
G Suite Essentials Free Until September 30
The company also highlighted that the G Suite Essentials which includes professional versions of Google Drive, Meet, Docs, Sheets and Slides are free till September 30.
Additionally, the company announced the roll out of “promoted pins” on Google Maps. Google said that the businesses can highlight specific services like pick-up and delivery along with other services through the promoted pins feature.
“We've started rolling out Promoted pins to Smart campaign advertisers with a Google My Business profile and will be fully available in the coming weeks,” Google said in the release.
Further, Google said that the businesses are not required to pay for any clicks or sales emerging from promoted pins until the end of September.
It remains to be seen if the initiatives from Google aid the local businesses in India. According to the latest Community Mobility Report released by Google on Monday, the data indicates that retail and recreation spots including cafes and restaurants have witnessed 55% drop across India. The data in the Community Mobility Report reveals the activity of a place or businesses including supermarkets and pharmacy, a section which has recorded a 4% increase in activity across the country.