Google just announced the launch of a new service dedicated to helping couples plan their weddings. That’s right, Google Weddings is set to provide a host of services that brides and grooms need to make that big day just perfect.
Google Weddings looks to be a user-friendly, fairly comprehensive platform that allows the happy couple to create a website, edit photos (using Picnik, owned by Google), create personalized announcements and photo albums (using Picasa, owned by Google), and use the Google Docs suite for handling the nitty-gritty details.
(I’m going on record here suggesting a few additions that might add value to the site. How about some webinars like ‘How to avoid choosing bridesmaids’ dresses that make your closest friends secretly want to see someone spill wine on YOUR dress – before the wedding,’ ‘Remember, you are not an ACTUAL princess,’ and ‘Top ten things NOT to say during a wedding toast.’)
Kidding aside, I was somewhat intrigued by Google’s foray into the wedding industry. My first thought, I admit, was: What? Google Weddings? For real?
Obviously, weddings can be lucrative, but Google’s not charging for or getting anything (obvious) out of this. What gives?
Local search expert Andrew Shotland wrote a great post in which he says Google Weddings Is About Local and Social:
- Notwithstanding the slight <cough> mess in some of the Google Places results right now, it does seem that the search giant sees local as being investment-worthy. They did send Marissa Mayer over there, no? And every wedding needs a bunch of local service providers, from venues and caterers to florists and photographers.
- Google is desperate to get a solid foothold in social. And what’s more social than a wedding?
I see lots of opportunity for SEO here, as capitalizing on engaged couples is only a wee bit more difficult than taking advantage of the fears of new parents. Let’s face it; some brides will go for anything in pursuit of their ‘dream’ wedding. I can only imagine the less-than-scrupulous-SEOs out there right now planning a new marketing campaign: “Shouldn’t your wedding site come up first for ‘best wedding in Orlando’? Our custom wedding SEO package is just $795. Sign up now.”
Seriously, though, this is an interesting move on the part of Google. There are some fairly obvious data-collection/personalization benefits that could arise from it. They get to learn a lot about you, including who your family and friends are. They get to see things you like. They get to see that Uncle Arnold drank too much at your wedding too.
And while the move was largely scoffed at by the Internet marketing community as Google (again) failing to focus on its core offering (that’d be search, in case you’ve lost track too), I have to believe that the benefit of acquiring ever more information about you is of significant benefit to them.
And think of the advertising opportunities. What wedding planner, caterer, cakemaker, photographer, videographer, chair-rental service, bridal shop, jewelry store or tuxedo shop wouldn’t be willing to pay a premium for ad space on Google Weddings?
I do have a few questions about the service though:
- What happens to the website after the wedding? Is it live forever? Won’t that make planning the second wedding a little awkward?
- How long until the Google Weddings sites get filled up by gags? (My own daughter has been married, engaged, and ‘in a relationship’ on Facebook with quite a variety of people, most of them not real. I can already picture my other daughter planning her imaginary marriage to Simon Cowell on Google Weddings. Don’t. Ask. I have NO idea.)
I’m immediately going to work on a new service that I hope to sell to the big G – Google Baby Shower. Expectant parents can use the service to do everything from creating an online baby album and announcement, to talking about the kid’s milestones, to allowing the kid to gradually take over. A more complete Google Profile could never be found!