This fall, Intuit will integrate several Google services into QuickBooks 2007. While this made quite a splash in the business blogs, I’m not sure users are very aware of this yet. So, now that the dust has settled from the original announcement, let’s review.
The Google marketing-related services that will be integrated in QB are:
- Google Maps – a free online business listing
- Google Base – a free product listing service
- Google AdWords – $50 credit, plus account tools within QuickBooks
Google’s Desktop search technology is also built in, allowing users to search their QB data and other files on their computer.
Here’s the screen shot that explains it all:
When will users start to see this? This year, with the releases of the U.S. versions of QuickBooks 2007, including Simple Start, Pro, Premier, Enterprise Solutions, QuickBooks Point of Sale, Invoice Manager and Credit Card Processing Kit. You can read the original press release for more details.
What Blog Writers Have to Say
Response in the business blogs has been interesting.
Anita Campbell, writing at Small Business Trends, cites some interesting user statistics, follwed by some interesting trend-spotting (her specialty):
- About one-fourth (25%) of U.S. small businesses today use Intuit products.
- Intuit has 3.7 million small businesses using its QuickBooks product.
- Another 2.5 to 3 million users use the Quicken product line. However, Quicken is not currently part of this new partnership.
What struck me was that the announcement came right from the top of both organizations. Steve Bennett, the CEO of Intuit, and Eric Schmidt, the CEO of Google, both personally made the announcement. That, to me, says it all about the significance of this new partnership and the commitment to the small business market.
What does this announcement mean to you and your small business? The obvious answers are: (1) you will be able to do more to market and sell, directly from within QuickBooks, (2) you will save time and not have to re-key certain information, and (3) you will get a “helping hand” in a sense, guiding you toward pre-selected solutions without the need to identify and research them on your own.
Besides the obvious, this kind of product integration has broad implications for how you select and implement software. As noted in the conference call today accompanying this announcement, a software architectural revolution is going on. You no longer need to have everything locked up onto one computer. Software today more and more is a hybrid combination. You will have some software downloaded to your company computers, and other software that you and your employees access as a service online. You may also have data that resides online. This kind of architecture has far-reaching implications for mobile workers, for network configurations, for software purchasing, and for IT security.
And perhaps the biggest implication of all: both sides today emphasized that this is just the beginning of a much deeper relationship, suggesting further product integration to come from Intuit and Google.
Rex Hammock caught that Inuit is much better at explaining the business benefits:
[I]t is refreshing to see Google Base described in a way that makes sense to a small business owner — “a free product listing service.” Instead of calling it Google Base, someone had the wisdom to call the feature “QuickBooks Product Listing Service” […]
I assume the product listing feature on Quickbooks 2007 will offer an easier way for local merchants to do what CVS and Walgreens already do — so that when one uses Google Base to search for Tylenol by location, they get a results page like this. I say easier because any merchant can already do that through Google Base — without the Quickbooks feature — it just takes some effort and technical skills to figure out how.
Scott K. Wilder, an Intuit employee who blogs at Duct Tape Marketing, is excited about the search features:
I am most excited about the Google DeskTop Search.
I love that product — Google DeskTop saves me at least several times a day, when my manager asks me about an email that was sent 6 months ago. With the Google integrations QuickBooks users will have the option to have Google Desktop search their QuickBooks product OR search the QuickBooks Product and their desktop. […]
Ironically, Google and Intuit are just across the street from each other in Mountain View. It’s about time we ‘did something together.’ I am sure we will both learn a lot from each other with this venture.
In another story, Wilder related his business experiences:
When I had my bookstore I constantly thought about how to drive foot traffic into the store. I tried newspaper ads (those are slowly becoming extinct), flyers, discounts, home delivery (not pizza, just books), etc. And that was a few years ago. Now you have Google — and everyone is going to Google first to find something. I know that Froogle still has a ways to go, but it’s getting there..
70% of local customers (the youz and Iz) are using the Internet to find products and services. They are doing price comparison shopping, doing research etc. (such as seeing what other stores are in the hood)
At TechCrunch, Michael Arrington wrote about the special conference call with the CEOs:
[Google CEO] Eric Schmidt is talking about embracing the long tail of small businesses on the conference call. Less than half of Quickbooks businesses have an online presence. This will help them get online, he says. Businesses will be able to create an adwords account using pre-filled information from Quickbooks. If the business doesn’t have a website Google will create a notecard page for them. All businesses will be given a $50 credit to start. Google will also create a business listing for businesses for search on Google.com and Google Maps.
Financial terms: In response to a question on the financial terms, someone said “We have some shared revenue and cost things”. Basically a non answer, although it’s clear Google is making payments to Intuit pursuant to this deal. They also say they are working on things with Google to expand partnership beyond QuickBooks base.
Google will create a web page for businesses that don’t have one, since CPC advertising requires something to click to…So google will be charging these businesses to send them to a page served by Google. I wonder if those pages will have Google ads on them.
Google and Intuit are looking at integrating this into Quicken as well.
Given the enormous base of QuickBooks users, Google is smart to tap them. Given Intuit’s long history of meeting customer requests for features, I’m betting this integration was carefully thought out and very well tested long before being announced.
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