Google India announced Today that a host of new features that are aimed at helping small and medium business enterprises in the country to recover and rebuild their businesses at a time when they have been hit by the Covid-19 pandemic. For starters, the company has launched the Grow with Google Small Business hub in India. This hub will serve as a single destination for all small businesses to get access to all the products and tools they need to go digital and maintain business continuity, which includes getting access to helpful resources like quick help videos and support pages to learn digital skills. Google says that this hub is currently available in English and it will be available in Hindi soon. In addition to this, the company has also launched a bunch of new features on Google My Business app, Google Pay and Google Maps. The company has rolled out ‘Nearby Stores’ feature Spot on Google Pay. This feature helps local businesses get discovered by customers in their vicinity. Google first introduced this kind of feature in May and now it has made this feature available to users across the country. Apart from getting discovered by customers, this feature allows merchants to indicate details such as their business hours, whether social distancing measures are in place at the store and the essential goods presently in stock. The company has rolled out new Merchant Loans feature on Google Pay for Business. The company said that it is working with partner financial institutions to surface their loan offerings for merchants, which can be availed right within Google Pay for Business app. This feature will be available in the coming days.
Google has also rolled out the ‘Stand Out’ feature on Google Maps. This feature uses Promoted Pins on Google Maps to help businesses stand out during these moments by displaying a prominent, square-shaped pin. Business owners can also highlight specific services such as pickup and delivery, or other unique offerings to make shopping convenient. Google has started rolling out Promoted pins to Smart campaign advertisers with a Google My Business profile and it will be fully available in the coming weeks. Furthermore, businesses will not have to pay for any clicks, calls or sales resulting from Promoted Pins until September 2020. On its Google My Business app, the company has rolled out three new features that would be allow businesses to mark their stores as temporarily closed or update the hours of operation, and easily update on Google Search and Maps once the business reopens; select attributes that show customers new ways by which the business is serving them; and use the new COVID-19 post type to share more detailed and timely updates such as safety measures put in place such as curbside pickup among other things. Apart from all this, the tech giant is offering a pro version of its video conferencing service, Meet, along with a professional-grade versions of Google Drive, Docs, Sheets, and Slides to G Suite essentials for free through September 30. Lastly, Google has announced that it has supported over 1 million businesses and individuals to gain from its digital skilling program in India and that it was doubling down on this effort in the coming days.