A team at Google is launching a new service today called rock, which enables creators to easily set up new web storefronts where they can sell their products and services directly to their audience. The project is the most recent to emerge from Google’s in-house Incubator Area 120 project, which is recently part of a broader one reorganization at the company that rose to status after many of its previous projects moved to different areas of Google, including the cloud, search, shopping and commerce businesses.
The new project, Qaya, was co-founded by Nathaniel Naddaff-Hafrey, a founder in Area 120 who previously worked at Job market Kormo targeted the “next billion” internet users, particularly in markets such as India, Indonesia and Bangladesh.
After hearing from dozens of creators how difficult and time consuming it is to build their digital business, he got the idea rock, a service that would allow them to sell directly to fans.
The solution enables developers to create personalized web storefronts with their products and services and other digital downloads, which can then be linked to their YouTube merch shelf and integrated with Google Search and Google Shopping. Through these stores, creators can incorporate things like photos, files or e-books, digital art, photo filters and presets, productivity templates, knitting patterns, fitness videos and much more.
If the creator sells physical goods or services on other platforms, an import function enables them to present these items with their own personal branding on their Qaya page.
Each store also gets its own custom URL in the form of qaya.store/your-name or yourname.channel, which could be used in place of the links they place on social media sites using the “Link in Bio “Solutions were created Linktree or Beacons.
With these services, creators can create micro-websites that link to their various online presences, including social media channels, shops, blogs, music or podcasts, and more.
And as with these services, the Qaya stores also allow creators to add links to their other online profiles, which appear at the top of the page under the creator’s name and bio. The larger purpose of the site, however, is to connect fans directly to the content that the creator has for sale, rather than just as a landing page to connect fans to the creator’s profile on other services.
Payment functions are built into Qaya, as are insights and analysis of how the developers’ products are performing in relation to sales.
The company is now rolling out the YouTube Merch Shelf integrations for eligible YouTubers participating in Qaya’s beta disguised reference to NFTs, although Google has yet to say whether it does.
According to Google, the new service kicks off today with beta testing in the US, although users outside the US can join a waiting list while they wait for Qaya to roll out in their country. Creators wishing to get access to Qaya beta can use a invitation from the Qaya website.