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Google I/O: Why small businesses should be excited.

Google. One of the most recognisable brand names in the world. Haven’t heard of them? Try googling it.

Of course you’ve heard of Google. Its ubiquity is such that many of its tools and much of its tech has become essential in the running of a small business. Whether you work on Google docs, use YouTube to host videos or have simply set your default browser to Chrome, you are the beneficiary of the Google revolution.

So, when Google hosts one of its annual I/O conferences, people of the tech world stop, flock and listen. During this yearly gathering the company announces its latest developments and tech innovations. In this blog we are going to focus on three of Google’s big ideas that are perfect for small businesses.

Before we get started, if you have three minutes to watch the incredible opening to the keynote speech, it’s well worth it!


Android Pay

What is it?

One of the most talked about new developments to come out of the Google I/O was Android Pay, an android system that allows customers to make payments just by taking their phone out of their pocket. Android Pay uses NFC (Near-Field Communication) technology allowing the customer to take out their phone, unlock it, hold it to the reader and ‘voila’, transaction complete.

Why is it relevant to small business?

As a small company, taking payments securely and simply is essential for attracting business and inspiring trust among your customers. Online, safe and simple payment tools like PayPal and Fab Pay have proved wildly popular and useful for big and small businesses alike. Where Android Pay will make a splash is on the high street.

Once the haven of stubborn ‘cash only’ businesses, now most high street shops and services embrace card and contactless payments. Android Pay takes this one step further. As well as streamlining the transaction process, agile small businesses that adopt tech early can get the jump on their competitors and inspire their customers. When we fancy a coffee but don’t have any cash, we’re going to the cool place that allows us to pay with our phone.

(Android Pay is not yet available in the UK but keep an eye out!)

Google Cardboard

What is it?

The name of this new product slightly undersells the exciting experience it delivers. Google Cardboard is, in a nutshell, one step closer to virtual reality. It’s a cardboard template that folds into square goggles you slide your phone into and then wear like you would those odd glasses in the opticians. Due to your restricted field of vision and the gyro sensors in your phone it delivers a virtual reality-like experience.

Why is it relevant to small business?

Marketing your small business can be tough. In order to succeed you need to do everything in your power to convince people your product or service is worth paying money for. Problem: if you are a bed and breakfast in the Lake District, how do you provide an enticing experience to potential clients miles away in London? That’s where Google Cardboard comes in.

Cheap and accessible, imagine being able to provide potential customers with a virtual reality tour of your charming B&B or if you’re a restaurant, allowing customers to choose which table to book by showing them around remotely first. Very exciting and another way to set you apart from your competitors as well as snare fascinated new customers.

Cloud Test Lab

What is it?

Google’s Test Lab allows you to test how your new app will perform on twenty of the most-used Android devices. Simply upload your app and watch it go.

Why is it relevant to small business?

If our ‘How To Build an App’ article from last week inspired you to start building an app for your business, Google’s Test Lab will prove invaluable. Building an Android app is a little trickier than iOS because of the larger variety of devices so it is essential you test before you launch. Google’s Cloud Test Lab allows you to upload your app to test the look and functionality on these devices as well as providing reports on why something isn’t functioning properly.

(We heard last week in our video that building an app is just the first step. How to market that app is just as important. Luckily, Google have also updated AdMob, a tool that gives you more chance to access the right audience with the right messages.)

So, Google have been busy crafting tools and tech to help your small business. Want to know more? Visit the Google I/O website where you can watch any of the talks you feel are relevant to you and your small business.

For free, impartial business tech help and advice, why not book a session with an O2 Guru? They’re available online, in store and over the phone.


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