The program seeks to make over 600 small and medium-sized Greek businesses more accessible on the internet. Google also hopes that the initiative will strengthen the bridge between the company and the Greek government, according to Dionisos Kolokotsas, Google’s public relations manager.
According to the website cnet.com, Google has redoubled its efforts of late to show a more friendly and innocuous presence in Europe. “The search titan has tangled plenty with European governments over issues including search dominance, its relation to the news media, its promotion of its Android apps, the right to be forgotten from Google searches, the company’s collection of Wi-Fi data and its Street View photos of houses. Anything to improve Greece’s dire financial situation would doubtless be welcome in Europe,” reads a recent cnet.com article.
Google is well aware of the great potential offered by the Greek tourism industry. A recent study showed that tourism alone has the ability to spark new life into a stagnant Greek economy by offering up to 100,000 new jobs and increasing the GDP by 3%. Google itself has suggested that even greater profits would come from lengthening the tourist season in the country.
“And the company has a direct interest in the tourist economy. The more people use the Internet, and the more they use Google in general, the more opportunities it has to show search ads,” continued the cnet.com article. For example, searching “Crete beach hotel” on Google or Google Maps proves very “amendable to advertising.”
Google’s Greek program, which started in Crete, is part of a larger initiative launched last December and aimed at targeting companies in southeast Europe. Companies partnered with Google will be able to offer updated information in multiple languages, appeal to more users and have greater online discourse with potential clients. Google is already promoting the National Tourism Organisation of Greece’s home page on its Google+ platform, which currently has over 1.4 million followers.