Google Launches New Feature to Help Small Black-Owned Businesses Get More Visibility

Google has launched a new feature to make it easier to for small Black businesses to be found on the service.

“We want to make it easier for people to support and spend dollars with the Black businesses they love,” Google said.

The announcement was made in honor of Black History Month on February 1. In the last 12 months, search queries for “Black-owned businesses” have increased by 600 percent, according to Google. Similarly, the business listing website Yelp also said it has seen a significant increase in searches for several Black-owned businesses. In its 2020 Q2 earnings report, Yelp said there were more than 2.5 million searches for Black business between May 25th and July 10th. Google also stated that more people were looking for recommendations of Black businesses at an increased rate, including beauty salons, bookstores, restaurants, and more.

In July 2020, Google said the new feature aimed to support Black communities with “initiatives and product ideas that support long-term solutions.”

A new feature was launched last summer that allowed businesses to identify as ‘Black Owned’ on Google Search and Maps. The feature has been updated to be used on Google’s Shopping tab. Also, all eligible businesses will have a custom Google badge by their name, a black heart on an orange background.

When searching for local businesses near you through or Google Maps, the new badge will indicate if a business is Black-owned. To be eligible for the badge, businesses need to provide proof of ownership and verify the claims either by mail, phone, or email.

Google said the new feature will be available for all shoppers and Google Merchants within the United States in the next few months.

Other major retailers like Target have taken similar actions. In the summer of 2020, major retailer Target launched a badge on its website to easily allow people to find Black-owned or Black-founded brands.

“We have carried a number of Black-owned brands for years and continue to listen to guests also ensure we offer a compelling and relevant assortment that supports our guests’ needs,” a Target spokesperson told Yahoo Finance. “Based on what our guests are searching for, we have started to implement icons online to help our guests find and support Black-owned brands and founders when they shop online.”

As Google grows its support for Black-owned businesses, especially those that were greatly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, other companies have also provided funding and support to Black merchants on e-commerce sites. Facebook and eBay have both dedicated $100 million toward supporting small Black businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

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