Google’s small business trends

A few weeks ago, TribeHR shared some human resource insights that were gleaned from Google’s Insights for Search. I’ve gone back and taken another look, this time using the Categories function to limit the search specifically to “Small Business.” 

The results are an interesting reflection of the larger trend towards internet-based commerce, as well as the widespread adoption of technology to streamline business processes.

Or, in layman’s terms, “they’re pretty neat.”

Explosive growth

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Google Insights results for “SaaS.”

SaaS, or software as a service, has emerged in the past few years as the preferred terminology for online subscription-based business resources. Small and medium businesses are drawn to SaaS in part because it allows them to perform like major corporations, without having to invest in computing or IT infrastructure.


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Google Insights results for “cloud computing.”

Cloud computing—the online storage and manipulation of information—has seen explosive growth in the past few years thanks to large investments by companies like Google, Apple, and Microsoft. Just last month, Microsoft released Office365, a cloud version of the ubiquitous Office (Word/Excel/Powerpoint) software. 

Facebook was founded in 2004. Twitter was founded in 2006. In only a few short years, they’ve become key parts of online commerce. In the next few years, watch for social media to continue its massive growth in the small business realm.

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Google Insights results for “social media.”

Steady increases

Hiring is of course nothing new, but small businesses are increasingly relying on the web to recruit new staff. We search for almost everything else online, so why not people too?

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Google Insights results for “hiring.”

Google Insights results for “API.”

Simply put, an API (application programming interface) is how one website shares custom information with another. Integrating web services allows you to use the best features from a variety of different vendors, in one easy-to-use format.

For example, you can use HootSuite to log in to Twitter and check your Klout score. APIs make it easy to transition from one service to another in a secure way, which gives small businesses more freedom and flexibility.

Fading fast

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Google Insights results for “classifieds.”

The once-standard term classifieds is being overtaken by brand-specific online boards like Monster, Kijiji, and Craigslist. The newspaper monopoly on job postings and ads for used junk is over.

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Google Insights results for “office.”

Office? What’s that? More and more people are working from home, or using their iPads and Blackberries to work from wherever they happen to be.


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Google Insights results for “envelope.”

A few weeks ago, I needed to send an insurance claim in the mail, but I didn’t own any envelopes. Neither did any of my friends. As everything shifts to the internet, snail mail is quickly becoming obsolete. Small businesses have clearly caught on to the trend.

Google Insights can assess the past, but it isn’t very good at predicting the future. What do you think will be the major changes in small business over the next 10 years?

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