Google Canada wants Canucks to be Google Guinea Pigs

Google Canada wants Canadians to beta test new products instead of always being at the bottom of the list.

Chris O’Neill, director of Google Canada, said that Canadians are frequently asking to try out the products and features that only those in the US get access to, such as Google Voice and Google TV.

O’Neill took on the top job in Google Canada in September, but already he has big ambitions to make the Canadian branch of the internet giant a far bigger player. He said that he was a “vision” for Canada to become a hotbed for testing rather than being left last.

The US market is far bigger than that of Canada, however, so it’s likely that products would launch in Canada before the US, a fact that O’Neill himself admits, but a simultaneous launch throughout the whole of North America is a possible option.

One thing holding Canada back, however, is the Canadian business sector, which O’Neill said is “slower to adapt”. He said that businesses need to catch up with the consumer sector, which is growing and adapting at a strong rate.

O’Neill said that there is a huge opportunity in Canada, much bigger than he expected, but that retailers need to think of new ways to bring technology to the forefront of the shopping experience. He suggested that all shops should offer free Wi-Fi, which will attract consumers while also offering them the ability to shop around online while in store.

For now, however, Canada must continue to sit on the sidelines, envious of Google customers across the border.