Want to know my opinion? It does not matter. I don't think Google was bringing more to the table than access to an online comparative rater. Tools like this have been available to agents for years. All Google did was replace the swivel chair interface (aka you the agent) with software. I was waiting to see what additional value Google would add to the customer experience and at the end of the day they did not add anything. In reality, I believe the experience for the few clients who ultimately used the service was poor.
For technology to add value to the experience, there was must be a value proposition larger than ubiquitous online access. The technology must add insights and guidance to the decision-making process. You often hear words like Big Data and Machine Learning coined when experts describe how technology can enhance the user experience, and this could not be truer in this context. In fact, the Google Compare offering suffered the same limitations that our existing batch of the internal technology shackles us with. They store policy information, calculate template based commissions and provide GAAP accounting but do not offer any intelligent insights.
The simple take away from the end of Google Compare is, in my opinion, the following. Google Compare operated in a real open access marketplace. The consumer realised that the Google offering was adding little value to the process that they could already get from traditional channels. So they did what consumers do every day. They voted with their feet or in this case their fingers. So why has the same not happened to the internal software applications brokers use every day that in many ways suffer from the same deficiencies? How is it that the consumer was able to exact change in the marketplace while the brokerage industry has suffered the same failings and shortcomings at the hands of incumbent vendors, yet done nothing to force change. The answer is simple. As consumers of industry technology we are operating in a very inefficient market if you could even call it that. The offerings are limited and the customers, aka the brokerage firms, don't collaborate. As a result, there are limited market forces at work and bad offerings are allowed to continue to perpetuate to the detriment of the industry.
The real lesson for us all when it comes to the failure of Google Compare is that we should somehow act more like consumers. After all Google and others will not slink away into the shadows never to return. Rather they will do what they always do. They will analyse the data and ultimately use that data to refine their approach. Let's hope that we as an industry take this opportunity to learn from the end of Google Compare and not continue to repeat our current destructive behaviour which is just to accept the status quo.