Google is closing the doors on its automobile insurance, credit card and mortgage comparison tools that have been available to users for a year now. The first rumors of the closure came from one of Google’s rival car insurance marketplaces: Joshua Dziabiak, the COO of The Zebra, informed the source website that he had been receiving information from a number of undisclosed industry sources that Google were planning on closing the Google Compare Auto Insurance. This service has been running since 2012 in the United Kingdom and was rolled out to the North American market last year. Subsequently, Google has confirmed that the service will be winding down from today, Tuesday.
Google’s comparison business was designed for customers to compare car insurance or credit cards quickly and easily from a browser. We understand that for the auto insurance division, Google partnered with local and national car insurance providers and took a cut of any business generated when a customer bought insurance either online or over the ‘phone. The cut was based on a flexible cost-per-acquisition model. However, Joshua said that he wasn’t surprised that the Google Auto Insurance comparison function was being removed, citing that the system was not sophisticated enough to provide the necessary information to customers. On the financial and credit card side of things, he believes that the Google tool was not proficient enough to provide information to customers beyond the simple price quotes: today’s consumers want to see more information. He also believes that several car insurance brokers and businesses had been reluctant to participate with Google’s comparison website for the same reason. One of the cornerstones of a comparison website is that it covers a significant proportion of the available market. Joshua said this on the subject: “A lot of people aren’t super surprised. Some of us kind of saw it coming.”
The Google Compare service emailed its partners and explained: “Despite people turning to Google for financial services information, the Google Compare service itself hasn’t driven the success we hoped for.” Later on in the email, Google goes on to say: “After a lot of careful consideration, we’ve decided that focusing more intently on AdWords and future innovations will enable us to provide fresh, comprehensive answers to Google users, and to provide our financial services partners with the best return on investment.” This reads as though the Google Compare service was in effect stealing clicks from displayed adverts, which is ultimately Google’s core business. The closure of the Google Compare offering also highlights how decisive Google is when it comes to removing a business venture that has failed to gain traction or is otherwise not working.