intuitlogo.jpgThe Google alliance with tax and accounting software company Intuit is a pretty impressive one, if you look at the details.

Google has long been trying to tap into the “long-tail” of small businesses that aren’t online. Less than half of small businesses are online, and so they’re not taking out ads on Google either. Google stands to profit if it can give these businesses Web sites, and then encourage them to take out ads to be placed beside Google search results.

This alliance with Mountain View’s Intuit is a smart way to do that. Under the accord, small businesses using Intuit’s Quickbooks software get a free web site — significant, because less than half of the businesses using Intuit’s Quickbooks software are online. Google will let small businesses create their own ad campaigns by using Google’s AdWords software from within Quickbooks — with a $50 credit to start.

Dean Takahashi, of the Mercury News has a good summary of the deal’s highlights here (Merc site is temporarily down):

  • Significant will be Intuit’s transfer of a small business’ information about products to Google Base, Google’s database of classifieds. So people on Google searching for specific products will find the company’s products. Intuit will build Google’s Desktop Software into Quickbooks, allowing Intuit’s customers to search their computer for information when they do Google searches.
  • Finally, Intuit said it bought San Francisco’s StepUp Commerce for $60 million. As Dean explains: “StepUp provides a way to take Quickbooks product inventory information and put it into Google Base software, so that consumers searching to buy something can immediately see how much inventory a business is carrying for a certain product.”
  • StepUp had raised under $10 million in venture financing from investors, according to VentureWire (sub required). The investors included Allegis Capital, Granite Ventures, and Pennsylvania Equity Partners. Granite’s Standish O’Grady said he invested in the company’s $6.6 million round less than a year ago, and that the deal yielded a “good return.”