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We’ve heard reports since March of 2016 that Google was working on its own job board, but it’s been unclear exactly what that meant. When Google Hire came out earlier this year as a form of applicant tracking system, it seemed the job board rumors were overblown — either a deliberate misdirect or a result of wishful (or fearful) thinking by industry leaders.

Image provided by Google

Google’s plans became just a little clearer yesterday, although they’re still unclear. At its I/O conference, Google announced a job aggregation service that takes its inspiration from Indeed and adds what Google does best — artificial intelligence and machine learning.

It incorporates the best of the last year’s recruitment announcement from Google — its Cloud Jobs API, which understands the subtle differences between job titles posted on the web, for example matching a search for “retail jobs” with titles such as “clerk” and “store manager.”

The biggest twist is that, rather than being a Google-sized threat to the existing big job boards — at least for now — Google is partnering with them. It will take in listings from Monster, CareerBuilder, Glassdoor, LinkedIn, Facebook, and even less-known sites like RealMatch, and link to the job descriptions on the respective sites.

(We’ve covered Google’s recruitment advertising moves extensively on AIMGroup.com and in Classified Intelligence Report, including a multi-page spread in our recruitment advertising annual, distributed to our clients today and available online next week.)

Aggregator Indeed stands the most to lose from Google’s new job play, which will be rolled out in the U.S. first “in the coming weeks,” with more countries coming in the future.

Chris Hyams, president of Indeed (photo from his LinkedIn page with thanks)

Indeed’s president Chris Hyams, released the following statement in response to the Google announcement:

“We are happy to see that – 13 years after Indeed launched – Google has woken up to the fact that searching for jobs is one of the most important searches in anyone’s life. Indeed is the global leader in job search, and our 5,000 employees wake up every morning and go to bed every night focused solely on helping people get jobs. 

“We look forward to relentlessly innovating to help hundreds of millions of people find the right jobs, including millions of jobs that are only on Indeed.”

The message was clear: We take on the challenge and are not spooked, because we focus on one thing – finding jobs for people.

It’s not an altruistic play, despite Google CEO Sundar Pichai’s comment at I/O that, “Forty-six percent of U.S. employers say they face talent shortages and have issues filling open job positions. We want to better connect employers and job seekers through a new initiative.”

Google will undoubtedly figure out ways to monetize listings on “Google for Jobs” (as it’s being called).

Pichai mentioned a one-click “Apply” button, for example, but didn’t explain how it would work.

Since Google knows where you live, you’re first presented with matching jobs in your area. You can further refine the results by filtering by job level, experience, title, full or part-time and when the job was posted. Pichai said that a commute time filter will be added soon after launch. Job alerts can be set. Pichai’s presentation emphasized retail jobs rather than the kind of high end developer jobs one might expect at a Google conference.

Will Google for Jobs and Google Hire come together — adding ATS functionality to Google for Jobs or more job listings to Google Hire? Pichai didn’t mention that connection specifically during his presentation, but we wouldn’t be surprised.

For more coverage, see ERE Media and TechCrunch.